Sports Information Director
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Holy Cross women's basketball team turned in their most impressive performance of the year Wednesday night in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) action. After trailing by as many as 19 points in the first half, and for the majority of the game, the Saints rallied with a late run to force overtime with their conference-rival IU South Bend. The Saints took control in the extra session, outscoring the Titans 15-10, and ultimately came out with a 100-95 league win. Lindsey Steffen (Nappanee, Ind.) chipped in a game-high 34 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Saints.
The first half in Wednesday night's matchup with the Titans was very favorable for the Saints in the early stages. Megan Eve (Scottsburg, Ind.) knocked down a jumper at 13:52 mark to give the Saints their largest lead of the half at 12-9. Following the basket from Eve, the Titans took complete control on the offensive end. An ensuing 16-0 run all of the sudden had the Saints trailing 13 points. The deficit would extend to as large as 19 points with 6:30 remaining before the Saints offense would respond. Lindsey Steffen knocked down a pair of three-pointers to cut the deficit to nine points and Shana Anderson (Bourbon, Ind.) knocked down the final shot of the half to bring the Saints within eight points at the break.
Steffen led the charge for the Saints in the half with 17 points and seven rebounds. The Titans went 18-for-31 (58.1%) from the field and 7-for-10 from three-point distance to hold onto a 50-42 advantage. Nichole Sly and Maegan Callaway paved the way with 11 and 10 points respectively.
In what seemed like a difficult task to overcome in the first half, the Saints opened up the second half with a 15-8 run capped off by Maggie Gondeck (Michigan City, Ind.) to get within one-point at the 14:48 mark. After a pair of opportunities to take their first lead since the early stages, Maegan Callaway scored five of the Titans next seven points to re-extend their lead to eight points. The Saints would get within one possession once again, but the Titans seemed to have an answer for every Holy Cross run as they extended their lead to 82-72 with 2:37 to play.
With time being of the essence, Lindsey Steffen got the Saints off to a good start on their next possession with an old fashioned three-point play to bring them within seven. Jillian DeLucia (Fishers, Ind.) picked off a pass on the ensuing defensive series and went coast-to-coast to bring the Saints within five. After forcing yet another turnover on their next defensive series, Mary Fitzgerald (Livonia, Mich.) knocked down a key three-pointer to make it a two-point game. Another solid defensive series resulted in Lindsey Steffen capping off a 10-0 Saints run to knot the score at 82-82 with 80 seconds remaining in regulation.
Ashley Carson knocked down a pair of free-throws to put the Titans back in front but Jillian DeLucia answered right back with the layup in the paint to tie the game 84-84. The Saints were called for a blocking foul on the next possession and Nichole Sly knocked down 1-of-2 free-throws to give the Titans an 85-84 lead with 50 seconds to play.
Kari Barnes drew a foul with 26 remaining in the game to give the Saints an opportunity to tie or take the lead. Barnes made one of the two shots and the Titans now had the final chance to end the game.
IUSB had three chances in the final 11 seconds from close range to end the game but could not get a shot to fall. The Saints would head to overtime for just the second time this year with the score tied at 85-85.
With a fresh five minutes of action remaining, sophomore Kari Barnes got the Saints off to a strong start in the session with a three-pointer. From that point forward the Saints held the lead for the entire session. The Titans would draw within two points after the layup from Nichole Sly, but Jillian DeLucia scored three consecutive to extend the Saints lead to five points. DeLucia then closed the game out with a pair of free-throws to give the Saints their first 100-point performance in program history as they would complete the comeback to defeat their CCAC-rival 100-95.
Lindsey Steffen led the way finishing with a game-high 34 points and 15 rebounds. Maegan Callaway added 28 points and 13 rebounds for the Titans while Nichole Sly contributed 24 points and eight rebounds.
- Jillian DeLucia, who was held scoreless in the first half, scored all 15 of her points in the second half and overtime. DeLucia finished 3-of-11 from the field but 9-of-10 from the foul line.
- The 34 points for Lindsey Steffen was a new career-best. The 15 rebounds also sets a new season-high. Steffen now leads the Saints with four double-doubles.
- The 19-point deficit was the largest comeback victory for the Saints this season.
- Kari Barnes (16), Mary Fitzgerald (11) and Maggie Gondeck (11) round out the Saints who reach double figures.
- The 100-point performance is the most in the history of the women's basketball program.
Hitting the Road
Following Wednesday night's home victory over the Titans, the Saints (7-16, 3-8 CCAC) will now hit the road for their next four games beginning in Bourbonnais, Ill. on Saturday against (RV) Olivet Nazarene University. They will return home on Wednesday, February 19 against the University of St. Francis (Ill.) where the seniors will be honored before the game.