(Notre Dame, Ind.) The Holy Cross Saints women's basketball team closed out their home schedule of 2012 at McKenna Arena in a tough 89-81 double overtime loss to the University of St. Francis (Ill.) on Tuesday night in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) play.
Francesca McCarthy (Terre Haute, Ind.) led the Saints in scoring for the fifth consecutive game with 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Maggie Gondeck (Michigan City, Ind.) recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
A solid start to Tuesday's contest had the Saints enjoying an 8-point lead with just over two minutes left in the first half. A 10-to-4 run by the Fighting Saints of St. Francis, however, cut the lead to just two with Holy Cross leading 31-29. Bench production was a key factor for Holy Cross in the first half with 13 of their 31 points scored coming from bench players.
Lindsey Steffen (Nappanee, Ind.), participating in her first game since December 1st, scored 4 first half points.
With the second half underway, St. Francis was able to take control and build up a 10-point lead with 5:41 left in the game. Holy Cross used a 15-to-4 run of their own over the next four minutes to get back in the game and eventually retake the lead with 1:25 left after a fast break layup by Francesca McCarthy.
With neither team willing to give in, the Saints found themselves trailing by two with just 49 seconds remaining in the contest. A layup by Lauren Malinowski (Dearborn Heights, Mich.) tied the game with 34 seconds left. A couple missed opportunities by St. Francis later and we were headed to overtime; the first of the season for Holy Cross.
Both teams scored six points in the first overtime period. Maggie Gondeck scored four of the six Saints points, while Katie Gonnering of St. Francis scored all six of their points. Jillian DeLucia (Fishers, Ind.) hit a layup as she drove to the basket with 45 seconds that tied the game and forced the second overtime.
With the score knotted at 79 late in the second overtime, a three-pointer from St. Francis with 1:11 left in the period put Holy Cross behind for the rest of the game. The Saints would cut it to within 3 with 31 seconds remaining, however, St. Francis was able to hit their free-throws down the stretch and sneak out of McKenna Arena with an 89-81 victory over Holy Cross.
"Turnovers really hurt us in this one," said head coach Aimee Niespodziany. "We had our chances to put this game a number of times, but missed opportunities hurt us. However, we also found ourselves on the other end of the spectrum in this game and fought back. We just really need to work on limiting our mistakes so we don't let games like this slip away again."
The Saints, 5-10 (2-7 CCAC), will return to the hardwood on December 28th against Marygrove College as participants in the 2012 Davenport Holiday Tournament.