(Notre Dame, Ind.) The Holy Cross Saints women's basketball team closed out the 2012-2013 regular season at home on senior day, where four members of the women's basketball program were honored prior to tip-off, playing host to the 14th ranked Cougars of Saint Xavier University. After holding strong through the game's first several minutes, the Cougars, led by Morgan Stuut and Suzie Broski, took control of the game en route to a 76-58 victory over the Saints. The Saints closed the regular season with a record of 10-20 overall and 6-16 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC), clinching the 9th seed in the postseason tournament.
Offense was hard to come by for both teams during the first few minutes Saturday afternoon at McKenna Arena before the Cougars scored the game's first points nearly two minutes into the contest. After the first points were on the board, the Saints began to settle in offensively leading to a 12-10 advantage over Saint Xavier at the 12:21 mark. The Cougars, however, began to settle in themselves on both ends of the floor and used a 14-2 run to build up a ten point lead with still 7:25 left in the first half.
A 5-0 run by the Saints cut the Cougars lead to 24-19 before Maureen Riley knocked down back-to-back 3-point shots to spark Saint Xavier to a 15-6 run to close the half with the Saints trailing 39-25.
Holy Cross hit just 10-of-26 shots from the floor and 4-for-9 from the foul line at the end of the first twenty minutes.
The Saints were able to cut down the scoring differential the Cougars had in the first half significantly during the final twenty minutes, however, it wasn't enough to overcome the 14th ranked Saint Xavier Cougars. The Saints dropped their final contest of the regular season, as well as final home game, 76-58.
Saint Xavier was able to keep their lead in double-figures for the entire second half.
Senior Lauren Malinowski (Dearborn Heights, Mich.) paved the way for the Saints with 10 points and a team-high 7 rebounds. Jacques Donaldson (South Bend, Ind.) scored 7 points in her fifth start of the season, and Angela Byrd (Harvey, Ill.) rounded out the seniors with 3 points and 4 rebounds.
Morgan Stuut and Suzie Broski combined for 40 points to lead the Cougars. Stuut finished with a game-high 21 points and 11 rebounds.
When it came down to it, Saint Xavier was aggressive with their press defense which helped them turn 20 Saints turnovers into 22 points. They were also able to turn 18 offensive rebounds into 21 second chance points.
Despite the loss, the Saints got to reward four individuals who have been instrumental to turning the program around.
"It has been a pleasure to be around this group of girls these past two seasons," said coach Aimee Niespodziany. "We've come so far in helping turn a brand new program into a consistent up-an-coming team. I'm truly proud of this senior class and how instrumental they've been to leading us into where we've become."
While the home season is over for Holy Cross this season, the Saints will return to action on Monday, February 18th in Whiting, Indiana as they are set to take on Calumet College of St. Joseph in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) quarter finals. The game is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST.