(Elgin, IL) The Holy Cross Women's Basketball Team took on the Eagles of Judson University tonight in opening round of the CCAC Tournament.
Holy Cross battled on the road as the fifth seeded team in the CCAC Tournament to beat the Eagles of Judson University tonight 72-65. It was the first ever conference tournament win for Holy Cross in women's basketball, and it was also the first ever CCAC Tournament game won by any sport Holy Cross. The women narrowly beat out the men's basketball team as the men won later in the night over Trinity Christian in overtime.
It was all Saints early in the evening down in Elgin as they took a 9-5 lead five minutes into the contest. The Eagles battled back, however, to take a 13-11 lead four minutes later.
After a timeout, the Saints found some much needed energy on the defensive side of the ball. They used a 10-0 run to take an eight point lead with the score 21-13 with just under nine minutes remaining in the first half.
The Eagles then used an 11-2 run take a one point lead of their own with just under five minutes remaining in the first half. The game stayed close for the remaining of the half, but after junior Lauren Malinowski (Dearborn Heights, MI) scored a lay-up with forty-seven seconds remaining in the half the Saints went up by the three points with the score 32-29. That was the last score of the half, and the Saints went into the locker room leading by three points.
The Saints had a hot hand shooting in the first half. They shot 46.4 percent from the field, and 40 percent from behind the three point line.
"We shot the ball really well in the first half. A lot of it had to do with easy lay-ups we created, but we were still shooting well from long range. In games like this you can go cold for certain periods so I knew it was important that we keep playing well on defense, and rebounding the ball," said Head Coach Aimee Litka.
Holy Cross came out with renewed vigor starting in the second half as they scored the first six points pushing their halftime lead nine points just one minute into the second half. The Eagles battled back going on a 10-0 run to take a one point lead just two minutes later.
The game was back and forth for the next ten minutes as neither team could really gain control. The Saints, however, dug down deep with just five minutes remaining to gain control of the game. They used a 14-3 run over the final five minutes of the game to push their lead to ten points. The run clinched the opening round victory for the Saints in the CCAC Tournament as they beat the Eagles on the road tonight 72-65.
"I am just really happy for our girls. We knew this was going to be a tough game, but they really found a way to win tonight. This is great for our girls, and I am really proud of them. They truly earned this win, and we are looking forward to the challenge in Milwaukee on Thursday against Cardinal Stritch," said Coach Litka.
Malinowski led all scorers with 24 points on the evening. Sophomore Lindsey Steffen had an outstanding night in recording a double-double. She had 22 points and hauled in a game high 17 rebounds. Angela Byrd (Harvey, IL) netted 10 points in the win.
The Saints are now 10-21 on the season. They take on the top seeded Cardinal Stritch on the road this Thursday February 23rd. The time of the game had not been determined by the time this article was written.