(Valparaiso, Ind.) The Holy Cross Saints women's basketball team continued non-conference play on the road against NCAA Division 1 Horizon League affiliate Valparaiso University Monday evening. The Saints gave it all they had against the Crusaders but fell short over the course of the game falling 98-49. Holy Cross drops to 1-2 on the season.
The Saints came out strong in the early stages of Monday's game against the Crusaders keeping it close in front of 400 plus people at the Athletics and Recreation Center. At the end of the first media timeout, the Saints trailed only 7-6 while getting two big three-pointers from Megan Eve (Scottsburg, Ind.) and Lauren Malinowski (Dearborn Heights, Mich.).
As the first half went on, the Crusaders were able to capitalize off of turnovers, and run their up-tempo offense effectively. The Saints found themselves trailing the Crusaders 44-22 at the end of the half, while only shooting 25% (9-36) from the field compared to the Crusaders 47.1% (16-34).
The second half proved to be too much for the Saints as the Crusaders continued to run the floor well and dominate the points in the paint.
Holy Cross found a couple of sparks off the bench in Angela Byrd (Harvey, Ill.) and Francesca McCarthy (Terre Haute, Ind.) who both scored in double figures. Byrd finished the game with 11 off 5-17 shooting, while McCarthy provided 10 off of 5-6 shooting.
Saints head coach Aimee Niespodziany made her homecoming debut at Valparaiso where she was a four year player for the Crusaders from 2005-2009.
"It was nice coming back to Valparaiso where I played collegiately," said coach Niespodziany. "While it was different being on the visitor's side, it was something I looked forward to. We wanted to schedule a Division 1 program this season and Valpo was the first place that came to mind. They were very hospitable to us and provided our team with a good learning experience."
While the score may not indicate the game being close, coach Niespodziany believes that the team can take a lot from playing a Division 1 program:
"Obviously we are on a different level than Valparaiso," continued coach Niespodziany. "They were able to expose our weaknesses with their size and speed, but I believe that this can really help us in the long run. There are a lot of great teams in our conference, and playing a game like this this early in the season can help get us prepared for what types of things we need to focus on heading into conference play. I'm very proud of how the girls fought for all forty minutes."
The Saints will continue the 2012-2013 season this Saturday with their first Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) match of the year against in-town conference rival Indiana University-South Bend on Friday, November 10th at McKenna Arena. Tip-off is set for 1:00 p.m. EST.