Sports Information Director
MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- A fast first half start by the Holy Cross Saints women's basketball team wasn't enough to overcome on Tuesday night against cross-town rival Bethel College as the Saints fell 77-67. Jillian DeLucia (Fishers, Ind.) and Lindsey Steffen (Nappanee, Ind.) each scored 13 points as the Saints fell to 2-5 on the season.
Holy Cross jumped out to a quick five-point lead on Tuesday night as senior Mary Fitzgerald (Livonia, Mich.) knocked down a jump shot to give the Saints the early 9-4 advantage. An ensuing 6-1 run by the host Pilots tied the game at 10-10.
Both teams continued to trade baskets in the first half before a 7-0 run by the Saints was capped off with back-to-back baskets from freshman Shelby Nelson (Mishawaka, Ind.) to put them up 23-18 with 8:34 remaining in the half.
The Pilots once again battled back and controlled the final eight minutes of the half following a pair of runs. A 10-0 run led Bethel to a five-point lead before they closed out the half with a 5-0 run to lead Holy Cross 39-33 at the half.
Lindsey Steffen led the Saints with six first half points as the team shot 12-of-23 (52.2%) from the field.
Bethel extended their lead to eight points to open up the second half before a 16-7 run by the Saints helped them retake the lead at 49-48 following the layup from Carmen Lowe (Fort Wayne, Ind.). While the Pilots got back out in front, two free-throws from Francesca McCarthy (Terre Haute, Ind.) made it a one-point game with 10:49 remaining in the second half.
Jillian DeLucia knocked down a three-pointer with 6:03 left in the game to give the Saints a 60-57 lead. Rachel Jennings matched the shot for the Pilots to tie it at 60-60 but Lindsey Steffen answered right back to keep the Saints in front by two points with 3:29 left to play.
Five unanswered points from the Pilots gave them a 67-62 lead with the clock winding down. Holy Cross would cut the lead to one with just over a minute to play, but unfortunately would not get any closer. Holy Cross was forced to foul over the final minute and the Pilots made all but one of their free-throw attempts. Bethel outscored the Saints 10-1 over the final 1:08 to en route to the 77-67 victory.
Jillian DeLucia and Lindsey Steffen each scored 13 points to lead the Saints. DeLucia hit 3-of-7 shots from distance and had four steals. As a team, Holy Cross hit just 4-of-14 three-point field goals.
Carmen Lowe and Shelby Nelson added 10 and eight points off the bench respectively while Mary Fitzgerald had nine points, four rebounds and a team-high six assists.
Bethel's Taylor Seiss had 21 points off the bench to lead all scorers. Aimee Swihart finished with a productive 18 points, five rebounds and game-high seven assists while Angelique Moore had a 13 point and 10 rebound double-double.
Holy Cross (2-5) will return to the hardwood next Tuesday as they open up Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) play on the road against conference-rival IU South Bend. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 5:30 p.m. EST on November 26.