RICHMOND, Va. - The Saint Joseph's women's basketball team is headed to the title game of the 2018 Atlantic 10 Championship as the sixth seeded Hawks downed seventh seed Saint Louis, 58-49, in a semifinal matchup on Saturday at the Richmond Coliseum.
Saint Joseph's will face fifth seed George Washington at noon on Sunday in the championship game, with the contest being televised nationally on ESPNU.
Leading from the start and never falling behind, the Hawks (18-13) sprinted out to a 14-4 lead as a jumpshot by graduate student Amanda Fioravanti capped a 9-0 run at 4:56 of the first quarter.
Ahead by 10 early in the second, Saint Joseph's saw its advantage cut to two, 18-16, as the Billikens scored eight-straight points in a 90-second span early in the quarter.
The Hawks would take a 24-18 advantage into the third quarter and opened a nine-point lead, 33-24, on a three-pointer by junior Sarah Veilleux at the 6:31 mark.
Again Saint Louis responded, as a layup by Jackie Kemph brought the Billikens back within three, 33-30, with 3:47 left in the third.
Once again the Hawks' resolve came through as a three-pointer by Kristalyn Baisden capped an 8-0 spurt that gave SJU a 41-30 lead.
Up 49-39 with under three minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Saint Joseph' used the clock and got key buckets and free throws to secure its first A-10 title game appearance since 2013 and 12th overall.
For the game, the Hawks shot 42.9 percent from the floor (21-of-49), 45.5 percent from three-point range (5-of-11) and 78.6 percent from the foul line (11-of-14).
At the other end, Kemph led the Billikens with a game-high 17 points as Saint Louis finished the game shooting just 32.2 percent from the floor (19-of-59), 3-of-15 from behind the arc and 8-of-8 from the foul line.
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