(Winona Lake, Ind.) The 2010 - 11 regular season kicked-off for the women's basketball team Tuesday evening at the Orthopaedic Capital Center on the campus of Grace College. The Saints battled the Lady Lancers in an early season non-conference match-up.
Holy Cross opened the night with 5 new starters from a year ago. The Saints started four true freshman and a sophomore transfer. Despite the Lady Lancers taking an early lead in the first half the young Saints were able to respond with a quick transition game. At halftime, the Saints held onto a slim two point lead (30 - 28).
"It's a different feel from last year," said Head Coach Matt Hunsberger. "I wasn't worried about starting four freshmen. They have proved all season that they are ready to be on the court."
The Saints came out firing on all cylinders early in the second half and managed to take an eight point lead, the largest of lead of the game, but freshman guard Juaneice Jackson of Grace hit a couple of three pointers to keep the Lancers close.
The Saints forced 21 turnovers on the night, but the Lady Lancer bench proved to be the difference maker as they racked up 42 of the 75 points. Tied at 67 with a 1:54 remaining Grace was able to pull away from the Saints hitting big baskets down the stretch. Holy Cross eventually fell 75 - 70.
Holy Cross was led by sophomore transfer Lauren Malinowski (Dearborn Heights, MI) with 17 points, 5 assists and 6 steals. Freshman Lindsey Steffen ended the night with 13 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. As a team the Saints shot 34% while Grace shot 39% from the field. Autumn Heflin led the Lady Lancers with 17 points.
"Opening the season on the road against a tough opponent like Grace was a real challenge for our team, but the girls played hard and showed a lot of maturity tonight," said Coach Hunsberger. "I am proud of the way they played and we gave ourselves an opportunity to win"
The Saints will return to action this Saturday, October 30th, for their regular season home opener against Goshen College. Last year Goshen beat the Saints 76 - 53 on a neutral floor. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30pm.