ST. LOUIS - The Saint Joseph's women's basketball team dropped a 52-51 heart-breaker to Saint Louis on Thursday afternoon at Chaifetz Arena as the Billikens' Sadie Stipanovich hit the game-winning jumper with five seconds to play.
Leading 50-49, the Hawks (6-13, 2-5 Atlantic 10) got a free throw from senior Natasha Cloud to go ahead 51-49 with 1:58 to play.
In the ensuing possession, Stipanovich would was fouled and made one of two free throws to bring Saint Louis within 51-50 at 1:34.
Both teams failed to score in each of their next tries, giving the Hawks the ball back with 46 seconds to play.
Ahead by one, Saint Joseph's used up a majority of the shot clock, however a jumper by Cloud was off the mark and the Billikens grabbed the rebound and called timeout.
Out of the timeout, Saint Louis moved the ball up the court, finding Jenny Vliet open on the right baseline. Lifting a shot with seven seconds to play, the ball bounced off the rim, but into the waiting hands of Stipanovich on the opposite side where she gathered the ball and scored to put the Billikens ahead 52-51.
Quickly inbounding the ball, Saint Joseph's got a long look from three at the buzzer, but Cloud's shot was off the mark.
In the first half, the Hawks fell behind 16-8 early, but stormed back to take a 27-16 lead. Holding the Billikens to 0-of-10 from the field, Saint Joseph's went on a 19-0 run as a jumper by junior Sarah Fairbanks at 2:19 gave her team its biggest lead of the game.
Saint Louis would tally the last four points of the half and carry that momentum into the second stanza as the Billikens went on a 21-6 run that spanned both halves to take a 37-33 lead with 12:35 to play.
Neither team would lead by more than four points from there, leading to the frantic finish in the final minutes.
For the game, Saint Joseph's shot 32.1 percent from the filed (18-of-56), hit 3-of-10 from three-point range and 12-of-15 from the foul line. The Hawks finished ahead 42-39 in rebounding, but turned the ball over 19 times, including 13 times in the second half.
Individually, Cloud and graduate student Ashley Robinson had 12 points apiece to lead Saint Joseph's.
At the other end, Saint Louis (11-10, 4-4 A-10) shot 31.5 percent overall (17-of-54), 12.5 percent from behind the arc (1-of-8) and 73.9 percent from the foul line (17-of-23). Stipanovich led all scorers with a game-high18 points.
Saint Joseph's returns to action Saturday at Davidson. Game time is set for 2 p.m.
Game Notes: The Hawks are now 8-3 all-time versus Saint Louis...Kathleen Fitzpatrick had nine points and a game-high three steals for SJU...Fairbanks added eight points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots...Fairbanks is one blocked shy of 10th place all-time in rejections as she has tallied 76 to date...Junior Ciara Andrews added six points and a team-high five assists...Freshman Chelsea Woods added seven rebounds and four points...Classmate Adashia Franklyn had three rebounds and three blocked shots...Sophomore Mackenzie Rule added a rebound.