ST. LOUIS – Despite a career-high 19 points from Lorreal Jones, the Billikens fell 68-56 to Missouri Wednesday night in non-conference women’s basketball action at Chaifetz Arena.
Jones’ 19 points came on 5-of-10 shooting from the field, 1-1 from 3-point range and 8-8 from the charity strip. Jones completed a double-double with 14 rebounds (eight offensive, six defensive), which tied a career best.
Mallory Eggert registered seven points for the Billikens (1-2) and was one rebound shy of her career best with 15 caroms. Jacy Bradley and Janisha Gearlds dished out four assists apiece, while Bradley posted a team-high three steals.
Mizzou (3-0) put four scorers in double figures, led by BreAnna Brock’s 17 points. She also recorded eight rebounds and six blocks. The Tigers shot 50 percent from the floor.
After Mizzou scored the first bucket of the game, the Billikens scored seven in a row to post a 7-2 lead and force an early Missouri timeout. Eggert notched the first SLU points on a layin, and Desirae Ball hit a mid-range jumper and a 3-pointer as the Billikens led by five early.
Missouri, however, would go on a 15-0 scoring run to lead 17-7 with 11:28 to go in the opening half. Kim Bee thwarted the Tiger rally with a layin. Mizzou scored the next three points, then Halee Castleman sank a free throw and connected on a put-back to make the Billiken deficit 10 at 22-12 with 8:55 left in the first stanza.
A pair of Jones free throws and a jumper pulled the Billikens to within seven of the lead with seven minutes remaining in the half, but Missouri would score the next 12 points for a 33-16 lead with 3:35 left.
The Billikens ended the opening session on a high note, manufacturing a 7-0 run over the final 2:43. Jones got it started with a jumper, and followed with a trey. Gearlds converted a layup with close to one-minute left to make it a 35-23 Billiken deficit, and that score held until halftime.
Jones scored the first basket off the second half to pull the Billikens within 10 of the lead. A pair of Eggert free throws cut the Billiken deficit to single digits as they trailed 36-27 less than a minute into the second half.
The Tigers went on a 6-0 run, but the resilient Billikens again clawed themselves back into the game. Bradley made it an eight-point game with a fast-break layin at 13:47. Later, the Billikens again pulled within eight when Courtney Webb nailed a pair from the charity strip, making it 52-44 Tigers with 8:40 to go in the game.
Hot free-throw shooting – SLU made nine a row at one point – pulled the Billikens to within four of the lead at 52-48 with 8:02 remaining, but Mizzou’s Morgan Eye buried a 3-pointer to push Mizzou to seven.
Jones hit a jumper with 5:34 to go to pull the Bills back within seven, but that is as close as the Billikens would get to the lead before falling by the final 68-56 score.
Saint Louis travels to the Windy City Friday, Nov. 18, to face Illinois-Chicago in a 7 p.m. tip at UIC Pavilion.