Saint Joseph’s Defeated by Saint Louis in Quarterfinal Round 59 -44
WILMINGTON, DE. 3/3/2023 –
The run in the Atlantic 10 Tournament came to an end for the #6 Saint Joseph’s Hawks who fell to the #3 Saint Louis Billikens 59 – 44 at the Chase Fieldhouse. The 44 points scores was the lowest offensive output for the Hawks, and the least given up by the Billikens this season. Coach Cindy Griffin is proud of what this team has accomplished this season despite this result.
“It was certainly not the outcome we came into this tournament looking for,” said Griffin. “Nonetheless, we’re really proud of our team, the body of work we put together this season. Having twenty wins is something we’re really proud of, and just getting our program back to where we want it to be. Which is winning and doing it the right way with the people you really care about.”
Saint Louis Quickness on Defense A Factor
The Billikens used their speed and quickness on defense to disrupt the offense of the Hawks. Saint Louis recorded 14 steals. Billikens guard Kennedy Calhoun set a collegiate-mark of 6 steals. Fellow guard Julia Martinez had 5 swipes. The result was Saint Joseph’s could not effectively run their offense.
“It disrupted our offense quite a bit,” said Hawks forward Talya Brugler. “We weren’t getting the looks that we usually get. And it was harder to get the ball out for the inside outside game.”
“It was definitely something we worked on in preparation for them,” Saint Louis Coach Rebecca Tillett said about the defensive effort. “They’re just so dangerous with their reads. If you don’t disrupt what they see, they’re going to make a connection and you’re going to be behind on the play. Even when you pick up their calls, you still got to work really, really hard to get stops. So that was critical.”
The Hawks had 20 turnovers and gave the Billikens a 26 – 9 edge in points off turnovers.
Saint Joseph’s was held to single digits in the third and fourth quarter getting 9 and 7 points.
The Hawks Needed More Offense From the Outside
The offense has been coming from inside the arc. In this game a need for outside shots became apparent. However, the Hawks were blanked from the three-point line missing all 13 attempts which had an impact on the game.
“It was huge,” Griffin said about the lack of balance. “Their defense was stifling inside. And we go 0 for 13 from three, and for the most part they were pretty good looks. When you’re going to advance in a tournament like this you’ve got to make some perimeter shots.”
Key Run of the Game
In the third quarter the Hawks took the lead when Billikens forward Brooke Flowers blocked the layup by Brugler with just over 5 minutes remaining. Flowers was given a technical for celebrating. Brugler gave St. Joe’s a 34 – 32 lead converting both free throws. A basket by Mackenzie Smith nearly thirty seconds later extended that edge. The Billikens responded by going on a 12 – 1 run to end the quarter.
That run was capped by a steal and layup by Calhoun with 3 seconds left. The Billikens had a 44 – 37 lead when the horn sounded. A big play at a key time, and it lifted Saint Louis.
“It means a lot really because on the previous possession I turned it over,” Calhoun said. “I wanted to get it back for my team. So that was a big momentum play. It was like we’re not losing this game.”
What the Numbers Say
Flowers recorded a double-double for Saint Louis getting 12 points and 15 rebounds. Guard Kyla McMakin scored a game-high 19 points.
Smith headed Saint Joseph’s with 15 points making 7 of 11 from the floor. Brugler made half of her 10 shots and made 4 of 5 from the line to total 14 points. Laura Ziegler pulled down 10 rebounds.
For the Billikens, they have a semifinal round game against #2 Rhode Island.
For the Hawks (20 – 10), their postseason fate rests in the hands of the selection committees. Hopefully, this team will have more games to play.
Written By: Glenn Papazian