CHICAGO, Ill. - The 23rd-ranked HU women’s basketball team let the second half slip away from them as they dropped a 77-61 decision to host St. Xavier University Friday evening at the Shannon Center. With this loss, the Foresters drop to 9-4.
The 12th-ranked Cougars notched their 11th win of the season by shooting a scorching 61.3 percent (19-for-31) in the final twenty minutes to extend a five-point halftime lead into a 16-point debacle behind the play of Morgan Stuut and Chrissy Heine. After combining for only 12 points in the first half, the two teamed up to score 21 points in the second period to turn the game into a blowout.
St. Xavier’s myriad of offensive weapons overpowered the Foresters as three different Cougars racked up double digits. Suzie Broski finished with a team-high 20 points while teammates Stuut and Heine poured in 17 and 16 respectively. Stuut controlled the boards by ripping down a game-high 16 rebounds, seven of which were offensive, for the double double.
The first half was a series of runs. The Cougars starting things off by missing one shot in the opening five minutes while the Foresters made only one shot to give the home team an early 14-2 lead. It was HU’s turn after that as they pieced together their own 14-2 run behind a pair of treys by Sarah Miller-Jennings to deadlock the score at 16-16 with just under 12 minutes on the clock.
St. Xavier turned up the heat defensively to gradually build the lead back to nine at 32-23 by the 3:11 mark but HU again mustered the energy to outscore the Cougars by four in the waning minutes to head into intermission down by five at 35-30.
The Foresters didn’t fare so well in the second half as the Cougars seemed to have an answer for every defense HU threw their way. Two freebies by Pazia Speed within the first three minutes of the period trimmed the lead to four at 42-38 but it was as close as the visitors would get as St. Xavier swelled the lead to double digits by the midway point and never looked back.
Speed topped all scorers with 23 points. She also grabbed a team-high six rebounds. Miller-Jennings added 13 points and swiped three steals in the losing effort.
HU wraps up the tournament tomorrow with a 5:00 p.m. CST tip-off against the University of St. Francis (Ill.) to battle for third place.