(Deerfield, Ill.) The Holy Cross Saints women's basketball team returned to action for the first time in 2013 on the road against fellow Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference member Trinity International University. Lindsey Steffen (Nappanee, Ind.) and Lauren Malinowski (Dearborn Heights, Mich.) produced big games for the Saints helping lead to a 78-70 victory over the Trojans. The Saints, 7-11 (3-7 CCAC), gave the Trojans their 10th consecutive conference loss.
A strong start to the 2013 campaign began in the first half as the Saints were first on the board and didn't look back over the first twenty minutes. Extending their lead to as many as 10-points with 9:51 left, the Saints held strong as the Trojans fought back to tie the game at the 6:40 mark. Despite the run by the Trojans, the Saints were able to hold strong and close the half with a 3-point lead at 36-33. They never trailed in the first half.
With the second half underway, the Saints built their lead back up to 5-points off a basket from Steffen to start the half. A 12-to-5 run by the Trojans, however, had the Saints trailing by two-points for the first time all game. Trinity International was able to hold a 1-point lead until an 8-to-0 run by the Saints regained the lead back to 7-points.
As the half was winding down, so was the Saints lead once again. With 3:13 remaining, a jumper from DeAndra Wright gave the Trojans their first lead since the 14:55 mark where the Saints trailed 47-46. A 13-to-4 run by the Saints helped put the Trojans away and give the Saints their first victory of 2013 in a 78-70 CCAC win.
The win for the Saints was their first conference win since their 64-46 victory over Judson on December 8th, and their first road win since November 27th when they defeated Andrews University 72-37.
"We came out strong today and responded when we needed to in order to get this win," said head coach Aimee Niespodziany. "It's a good momentum builder for us to start off the second half of the season with a win. We have a tough test this weekend against Saint Xavier, so we will need to stay resilient like we were today to get another tough road win."
Lauren Malinowski's 24-point night on 6-of-11 shooting, including 8-8 from the free-throw line, led the Saints in scoring. Lindsey Steffen notched another double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Megan Eve (Scottsburg, Ind.) knocked down 3-of-5 from deep to give her 9 points off the bench while Mary Fitzgerald (Livonia, Mich.) produced a 7-point, 3 assists, and 2 steal night.
The Saints, 7-11(3-7 CCAC), will head to Chicago, Illinois on Saturday for their first meeting of the year against (12) Saint Xavier University. Tip-off is set for 2:00 p.m. EST.