By Atlantic 10 Conference
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RICHMOND, Va. - First Team All-Atlantic 10 guard Jackie Kemph tied a career-high with 28 points as seventh-seeded Saint Louis defeated second-seed Duquesne 71-65 Friday afternoon in the third quarterfinal of the 2018 Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Championship held at the Richmond (Va.) Coliseum.
After scoring just two points in the first period, Kemph exploded for fourteen points in the second to help keep the Billikens within reach as Duquesne (23-7) took a 39-38 lead to the halftime locker room. The game changed in the second half from a shootout to a defensive battle, as Saint Louis (18-14) held Second Team All-Atlantic 10 guard Julijana Vojinovic of the Dukes, who had fourteen points in the first half, to just three after intermission on a three-point shot with 19.5 seconds left.
"It's not just survive and advance, it's win and advance. Just win," Saint Louis head coach Lisa Stone said after the game, noting the up and down nature of her team's season. "We played Duquesne (recently) and they did everything they wanted to do at our place. It was a disappointing ending, so, being March, we talked about rewriting our story."
Kemph put pen to paper for Stone and her teammates, going 13-of-16 from the free throw line, pacing the Billikens to an 81.5 percent performance at the stripe. Kerri McMahan, a target of Duquesne's defense down the stretch when forced to foul, made five of her six free throws. Maddison Gits registered a double-double with ten points and fifteen rebounds, while Paige Rakers scored all fifteen of her points on five three-pointers.
"She's currently studying for the CPA exam, is in graduate school. She's an unbelievable human being, she's extremely humble, and it's going to be sad when her last game comes," Stone said of Kemph, who won Atlantic 10 Player of The Year honors as both a sophomore and junior. Saint Louis advances to the semifinal round for the third consecutive year, still seeking their first title game appearance.
While the Dukes put four players in double figures, a critical stretch in the final minutes as their defense kept the Billikens off the scoreboard was met by their own inability to cut the deficit, the score stuck on 65-60 from 4:08 left to 33 seconds remaining.
Kadri-Ann Lass led Duquesne with eighteen points, followed by Vojinovic's seventeen, and eleven points each for Conor Richardson and Chassidy Omogrosso. The Billikens kept Omogrosso, third in the Atlantic 10 in three-pointers made per game this season, from hitting a trey.
Saint Louis will face the winner of the last quarterfinal matchup between #3 Fordham and #6 Saint Joseph's in the second semifinal on Saturday at 1:30 pm. The game will be shown live on CBS Sports Network.