(Milwaukee, Wisc.) A tough shooting first half on the road against 19th ranked Cardinal Stritch University put the Saints behind early on Saturday afternoon. Despite a strong second half effort, the Saints were unable to pull off the upset and fell to the Wolves 66-54.
The first half of action for the Saints proved to be difficult to generate much offense as they were only able to shoot 21.4% (6-28) from the field and 10% (1-10) from beyond the arc. With the score tied at 6-6, Cardinal Stritch used a 17-0 run with help from guards Julie Raeder and Emily Neitzel who each scored 7 points. Good defense from the Wolves helped force ten first half turnovers for the Saints which led to 13 points. The Saints found themselves trailing 37-14 at the half.
As the second half began, and the Saints trailing by 24, they knew they had to kick it in gear to try and chip away at this lead. The Saints did just that. Trailing 57-33 with 6:15 remaining in the game, the Saints began grinding away at the Wolves lead. Holy Cross managed to put together a 21-9 run to close the game and had cut Cardinal Stritch's once dominating lead to only 11 points. The Saints went on to fall to the Wolves 66-54.
Senior guard Angela Byrd (Harvey, Ill.) put together a great second half for the Saints. After failing to score a single point in the first half, Byrd managed to score 13 points on 5-7 shooting in the second half.
"I was very impressed with how Angela got it going in the second half," said head coach Aimee Niespodziany. "We really weren't able to put much together in the first half so this spark really helped us climb back into the game.
Lauren Malinowski (Dearborn Heights, Mich.) was the other Saints player to record double figure scoring. Malinowski finished the game with 15 points and a team high 4 steals.
Lindsey Steffen (Nappanee, Ind.) and Francesca McCarthy (Terre Haute, Ind.) also finished with productive days for the Saints. Steffen just missed another double-double with 9 points and 11 rebounds, while McCarthy produced 9 points and 7 rebounds.
The Saints outscored the Wolves in the second half 40-29 on 43% (15-35) shooting from the field.
"The first half was definitely something we'd like to forget," continued coach Niespodziany. "Despite not being able to get much going in that half, the girls stuck with it and put together a solid first half against a top 20 program. We still have a long way to go to put together a complete game like our second half, but I believe our girls have the determination to get that going consistently. We still have a lot of season left to improve on our shortcomings."
The Saints, 2-6 (1-4 CCAC), will hit the road for a nonconference matchup with Andrews University on Tuesday and return home for their next Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) matchup with Calumet College of St. Joseph on Saturday, December 1st. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. (EST).