Sports Information Director
NOTRE DAME -- First half turnovers combined with giving up a 14-0 run to close out the first half put the Holy Cross women's basketball team in a number of difficult situations in Tuesday night's non-conference matchup against Spring Arbor University. Despite the first half struggles, the Saints continued to battle in the second half to take a brief lead and take the Cougars down to the wire. A late game-winning jumper from Spring Arbor proved to be the deciding factor as the Saints failed to get off a final shot to tie or take the lead. Shelby Nelson (Mishawaka, Ind.) recorded her second straight 20-point performance, but the Saints dropped their fifth consecutive game by a final score of 59-57. With the defeat they drop to 2-9 on the season.
Although turnovers were an issue early on, the Saints continued to hang around with the visiting Cougars. After trailing 10-5 near the midpoint of the first half, a 14-5 run by the Saints gave them their largest lead of the game at four points with just over three minutes remaining in the half. The remainder of the half was where things got difficult. Spring Arbor closed out the final 3:28 of the first half with a 14-0 run to take a 10-point lead to the break.
The miscues were now starting to pile up; Holy Cross turned the ball over 16 times in the first half which the Cougars turned into 12 points. Along with the turnover issues, the Saints shot only 8-of-26 (30.8%) from the floor.
A reenergized and focused team took to the floor in the second half as the Saints began to chip away at the Cougars lead. Trailing again by 10 points at the 17:33 mark, the Saints went on a 14-2 run to take their first lead since late in the first half. Spring Arbor, however, answered right back with a 15-3 run of their own as they brought their lead back to 10 points with 7:39 remaining in the game.
As time was beginning to become more of a factor, the play of the Saints began to rise to the occasion. Senior Megan Eve (Scottsburg, Ind.) hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 52-52 with less than four minutes remaining. Jessica Garrison helped put the Cougars back up three points with less than a minute to play, but it was Eve again who came up with the big three-pointer to tie the game at 57-57.
With the shot clock turned off, Spring Arbor moved the ball up the floor and found Rachel Driesenga open on the baseline for the go-ahead bucket with 10 seconds remaining. The Saints had the ball at the Cougars end as the clock was winding down, but a steal Jessica Garrison allowed the clock to run out and the Saints comeback to fall just short. Spring Arbor held on for the 59-57 victory.
Freshman Shelby Nelson continued her strong play since being inserted into the starting lineup, scoring 19 of her team-high 21 points in the second half. Nelson became the second Saints player this season to record back-to-back 20-point performances.
The duo of Carlie Newman and Jessica Garrison led the way for the Cougars. The two combined for 46 of the teams 59 points.
Holy Cross did a better job taking care of the ball in the second half, but still ended the game with 23 turnovers.
The Saints (2-9, 0-2 CCAC) resume CCAC action on Saturday, December 14 with their last game of the fall semester where they will host Purdue Calumet. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EST.