Sports Information Director
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Shelby Nelson (Mishawaka, Ind.) had a career day with her first double-double but the Holy Cross women's basketball team dropped their fourth consecutive game in their Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) home opener on Saturday afternoon to the Olivet Nazarene Tigers 88-81. After turning the ball over 21 times in the first half, the Saints finished the game with season-high 40 turnovers. The Saints fall to 2-8 overall and 0-2 in the CCAC.
The Saints struck first in Saturday afternoon's CCAC matchup, but the Tigers were quick to respond retake the lead. Following a made free-throw from Miranda Geever, however, the Saints went on a 6-2 run to cut the Tigers' lead to three points following the layup from Francesca McCarthy (Terre Haute, Ind.). Olivet quickly responded with their own 7-0 run to increase their lead to 10 points with 13:36 remaining in the half. The Saints would get to within six points with 3:40 remaining in the first half, but the Tigers closed out the half on a 6-2 run to take a 38-28 lead to the break.
Turnovers were a major issue for the Saints in the half as they gave the ball back 21 times which Olivet converted into 21 points. The top offensive rebounding team in the country also scored six second-chance points.
The early stages of the second half did not start out well for the Saints as Olivet quickly opened things up with an 11-2 run to increase their lead to 19 points less than three minutes into the half. A three-pointer from Mallory Adam gave the Tigers their largest lead of the day at 20 points with 14:04 remaining in the game.
The ensuing 10 minute stretch was when the Saints began to find their rhythm, much due to the strong play of freshman Shelby Nelson. Over this 10 minute stretch, the Saints went on a 28-14 run and cut the Tigers lead to six points with 4:18 remaining in the game. A key three-pointer from Taylor Hames in the next possession swung the momentum back to Olivet. The Saints would get within six points with 22 seconds remaining, but a transition basket from Olivet put the game out of reach as the clock wound out. Olivet held on a late run by the Saints to win the game 88-81.
Shelby Nelson had her best game in a Holy Cross uniform as she finished with career-highs in points (23) and rebounds (12) for her first career double-double. Nelson scored 17 of her game-high 23 points in the second half. Mary Fitzgerald (Livonia, Mich.) and Francesca McCarthy each contributed with 12 points.
Turnovers remained an issue in the second half as they turned it over 19 more times which Olivet capitalized into 17 points.
The Saints did make shots difficult for the nation's top-scoring offense; Olivet shot just 32.4% from the field and was held to well under their season average of 107.8 points per game.
Holy Cross (2-8, 0-2 CCAC) will return to the hardwood on Tuesday, December 10 with a non-conference matchup against Spring Arbor (Mich.) University. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 5:30 p.m. EST.