Sports Information Director
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Holy Cross women's basketball team wrapped up their 2013-2014 home schedule on Wednesday night playing host to the University of St. Francis (Ill.) on senior night where seven members were honored prior to the start of the game. The Saints had a pair of leads in the first half, however, struggles on the offensive end limited their production as they fell to St. Francis by a final score of 78-60.
2014 Senior Class
Lindsey Steffen (Nappanee, Ind.)
Megan Eve (Scottsburg, Ind.)
Jillian DeLucia (Fishers, Ind.)
Kristin Nitka (Chicago, Ill.)
Mary Fitzgerald (Livonia, Mich.)
Francesca McCarthy (Terre Haute, Ind.)
Manager Clare Shear (Syracuse, Ind.)
The start of Wednesday night's CCAC matchup with St. Francis was very back-and-forth in the early stages of the first half. After trailing 10-3, the Saints took their first lead of the night following a three-pointer from Jillian DeLucia (Fishers, Ind.) at the 12:57 mark of the half. Kari Barnes (Fort Wayne, Ind.) would convert on the fast break to put the Saints up 13-12 at the near midway point before Paige Stankus put the Fighting Saints up by three. Barnes would knock down the tying three-pointer following a St. Francis turnover, but the Fighting Saints would open up an eight-point advantage with 2:55 to play in the first half. Shana Anderson (Bourbon, Ind.) brought the Saints within five points but it was Stankus and St. Francis who would score the final points of the half and take 29-22 lead to the break.
The Saints concluded the half with five second-chance points and held a 10-8 advantage in bench scoring. However, they turned the ball over 12 times which St. Francis converted into nine points. The team struggled from the field going 8-for-33 (24.2%), but six of their eight field goals were from distance. Kristin Nitka (Chicago, Ill.) and Jillian DeLucia led the team with a pair of three-pointers to go for six points.
Alexis Brown and Cydney Weisflog combined for 14 of St. Francis' 29 first half points.
The strong three-point shooting continued for the Saints to open up the second half as Jillian DeLucia knocked down her third of the game to bring the Saints within four points with 19:12 still to play. Lindsey Steffen (Nappanee, Ind.) answered a St. Francis response with her first points of the night to keep it at a four-point game.
St. Francis began to gather up some momentum following a 9-2 run which propelled them to an 11-point lead with 15:48 remaining. Carmen Lowe (Fort Wayne, Ind.) would bring the Saints within nine points, but an ensuing 12-2 run by St. Francis would open their lead up to 18 points.
The Saints would continue to chip away at the deficit and would get as close as 11 points following a Kari Barnes three-pointers. Ultimately, the proficient scoring effort from St. Francis, paired with the offensive struggles in the second half by the Saints, was too much to overcome.
The five seniors on the floor were subbed out as a group for their final time at McKenna Arena with 1:30 left in the game to a standing ovation.
St. Francis would close out the game following a missed shot by the Saints to win the game 78-60.
Cydney Weisflog led a trio of St. Francis players in double figures with a game-high 21 points.
The Saints finished the game 19-for-72 (26.4%) from the field.
Coach Niespodziany on the seniors
To the seniors in the class of 2014:
"I really can't believe you are all seniors. I want to thank you for your commitment to Holy Cross and this program over the three years I have been able to spend with you. Each one of you has brought something special to not only this program but to me. You seven seniors are leaving behind a legacy of hard work. We have had our share of laughs and smiles without losing sight of business when business calls. I wish each of you the best as your enter the next stage of your lives. Remember that there will be obstacles on your path to success but nothing that can't be overcome. It is important to set your goals high because you all are capable of achieving great things. Thanks for all of the memories."
- All five healthy seniors scored at least two points in the game.
- Kristin Nitka knocked down a pair of three-pointers to give her 51 for her career.
- Jillian DeLucia dished out five assists to tie Lauren Malinowski with the most assists in a career (376).
Wrapping up the regular season
The Saints (8-20, 4-12 CCAC) will hit the road this weekend to close out the regular season against Calumet St. Joseph. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 pm EST.