ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Despite a furious rally in the final 10 minutes of play, the Washington State women's basketball team could not finish off their comeback as Saint Louis survived to take a 73-70 win over the Cougars on Saturday afternoon. The loss for the Cougs (5-5) was their third-straight while the Billikens (8-2) improved to 4-1 at home at the Chaifetz Arena.
Down 10 heading into the fourth quarter, the Cougars caught fire just as they had done to start the contest as WSU erased the Billikens' lead in just six minutes thanks to three of their 13 threes. The barrage was part of a 17-5 run to start the quarter as WSU took its first lead of the game since early in the second quarter. After trading the lead, junior Caila Hailey would bury the Cougs' final three of the game and fourth of the quarter with 2:40 to play to put WSU out front 70-67.
Unfortunately for WSU, the Hailey three would be the final score of the game for the Cougs who saw their comeback stall out in the final minutes. While struggling to score themselves, the Cougs held the Billikens without a field goal for nearly four minutes to end the game. However, free throws proved to be the difference as SLU closed the game on a 6-0 run that included four from the charity stripe to survive the comeback.
The Cougars were forced to play from behind late in the game thanks to a second quarter that saw SLU win the battle on the scoreboard 17-10 turning a one-point WSU lead into a six-point halftime advantage of the Billikens. The Billikens would push their lead to as much as 12 late in the third quarter before the Cougs found their shooting stroke once again.
Early in the game, the Cougs were in control as they started 4-for-4 from deep to open up an early eight-point lead. Despite the hot start, turnovers let the Billikens hang close before a 10-0 run spanning the end of the first and the start of the second put SLU in the lead.
In the loss the Cougars hit a season-best 13 three-pointers, matching their start of the season output against LMU and finishing one-shy of the program's all-time single game record. The shooting display from deep was led by Alexys Swedlund who hit four of seven from behind the arc as the sophomore set a new career mark while scoring a team-best 12 points. The Cougs would put four in double-figures in the loss as Hailey added 11 points while Channel Molina and Pinelopi Pavlopoulou each tallied 10.
The Billikens one-upped the Cougs in the score column as all five starters hit double-figures. Sadie Stipanovich and Jordyn Frantz led all scorers with 14 points each while Jackie Kemph and Jordyn Frantz added 13 and Olivia Jakubicek went for 10. Both Stipanovich (14 points, 15 rebounds) and Kemph (13 points, 12 assists) recorded double-doubles for the Billikens. SLU's big advantage came in the paint where the Billikens held a 34-16 edge and at the line where they went 17-of-20 compared to 7-of-14 for the Cougs.
On the glass, Maria Kostourkova came up with a career-best 10 rebounds while Hailey added six including four on the offensive end. The junior point guard al finished the game with four assists and her second five-steal effort of the season, tying a career high.
The Cougars are back in action on Wednesday, Dec. 21, when they travel to Lexington, Ken. to take on the No. 19 ranked Kentucky Wildcats. The game is scheduled for 12 p.m. EST and marks the close of non-conference play for the Cougars.