Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

SLU Faces Little Rock in Women's NIT

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

SLU Faces Little Rock in Women's NIT

Article excerpt

After sputtering and then losing in the Atlantic 10 tournament, the St. Louis University women's basketball team felt it had done more than lose its grasp on a possible NCAA Tournament berth.

The Billikens knew they had failed to do the things that had led to a share of the conference championship.

For only the second time in the program's history, SLU will have a chance for redemption without waiting for the next season when the Billikens face Arkansas-Little Rock on Thursday night in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament at Chaifetz Arena.

"We finished the last game at the A-10 and didn't shoot well or play well," coach Lisa Stone said. "We have a hungry team that wants to prove we can play better."

The Billikens might not be playing in the country's big event, but the players have reacted with an enthusiasm that makes it hard to tell a difference.

Stone caught guard Jackie Kemph dancing in the middle of practice this week. And when the coaches dismissed practice one day, the entire team remained on the floor to work on a drill it had not performed up to par.

"For the first time, we're practicing in March," Stone said. "This whole week I've been saying it. How cool is that? There's a seriousness about it but a freedom, and I actually love that."

Players and coaches held a slim hope of reaching the NCAA Tournament but there was little disappointment because the realization was that they hadn't done quite enough.

Most of the players were in grade school when the Billikens made their one and only postseason appearance, and they are well aware of the ground they are breaking.

"There's a lot of thrill to the postseason," center Sadie Stipanovich said. …

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