(Notre Dame, Ind.) The Holy Cross Saints women's basketball team hosted local rival, and 15th ranked nationally, Bethel College Tuesday evening in a nonconference matchup. The Pilots defensive pressure flustered the Saints momentum early as they would end up falling in the matchup 93-59.
Coming off a tough loss to Calumet Saint Joseph on Saturday, the Saints struggled offensively to get much momentum early in the first half. Bethel, led by 15th year head coach Jody Martinez, put instant pressure on the Saints while on the defensive end forcing several early turnovers. Offense did not come easy for the Saints as they found themselves trailing 12-4 through the first five minutes of action.
Turnovers continued to be an issue as the half went for the Saints. They turned the ball over 19 times in the first half which led to 25 points for Bethel. While shooting only 29.6% from the field compared to Bethel's 41.2%, the Saints entered halftime trailing the Pilots 51-24.
Throughout the second half, the Saints offense became more balanced. After turning the ball over 19 times in the first half, the Saints were determined to put together more effective possessions.
After being outscored 51-24 in the first half, the Saints were able to close that gap in the second half significantly. With 19 first half turnovers, the Saints only turned the ball over 8 times for the duration of the game.
The Saints had cut the Pilots lead to just 23 early in the second half; however, Bethel would go on a run themselves and build the lead up to 42 points, 89-47, with just over five minutes left in the game.
In the end, the Pilots balanced attack on the offensive and defensive ends were too much for the Saints tonight. Bethel forced the Saints into 26 turnovers, out-rebounded them 47-38, and knocked down 22 of their 27 free-throws attempted.
"This clearly wasn't our best performance," said head coach Aimee Niespodziany. "Turnovers really hurt us tonight as you can see our 26 turnovers led to 32 points for Bethel. I thought we did a better job in the second half protecting the ball, but we really need to focus our attention to keeping possessions alive and not giving teams easy opportunities off of our mistakes."
The Saints, 3-8 (1-5 CCAC), will return to Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) action on Saturday, December 8th against the Eagles of Judson University. The game is set to tip-off at 1:00 p.m.