Jackson, Tenn. - Just a day after receiving First Team NAIA All-American honors from the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), junior forward Erin Hannemann (Homer Glen, Ill./Providence Catholic) proved her worth again for No. 6 ranked Saint Xavier University in a 71-60 win over Langston University (Okla.) Wednesday in the first round of the 2009 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship at Oman Arena in Jackson, Tenn. The Cougars (26-4 overall) jumped out to an early 15-2 lead and never trailed leading by as many as 21 points early in the second half.
Hannemann finished with a game-best 25 points to go along with her six rebounds on the day. Senior forward Abiola Amure (Chicago, Ill./St. Scholastica) also provided SXU with a huge lift posting 18 points and game-high 10 rebounds. Junior guard Kathlyn McClain (Oak Forest, Ill./Converse College/Marian Catholic) also scored in double figures for the Cougars with 15 points. Junior guard Cassandra Johnson led Langston with 18 points and nine rebounds. Saint Xavier used its typical intense defensive pressure to rattle the Lady Lions and it worked well, especially early in the ballgame when Langston hit just 19 percent (5-for-26) of its shots and committed 14 turnovers in the first half.
SXU came out on fire both offensively and defensively jumping out to a 15-2 lead in the game's first seven minutes. However, a four-minute scoring drought allowed the Lady Lions to creep back into the ballgame and close to within three, 15-12, with just under nine minutes remaining in the first half. Amure put the team on her shoulders late in the first half scoring nine of the team's final 14 points of the period and helped give her team a 29-18 halftime advantage.
The Cougars came out strong again to start the second half and quickly pushed their lead up to 21 points, 43-22, on a pair of free throws by McClain. However, Johnson got hot for Langston scoring 13 of her team's next 17 points and narrowed the deficit to 10, 49-39, with 11 minutes to play in the game. A three-point play by Hannemann capped a 12-3 scoring run for Saint Xavier and pushed the lead back up to 19, 61-42, with 6:21 remaining in regulation. The Lady Lions answered with a 15-2 run that cut the lead to six points, 63-57, with two minutes to play. Langston senior guard Nikia Henry scored back-to-back buckets and later added a three-pointer in the run, but McClain sank a pair of free throws with 1:40 left to give Saint Xavier an eight-point cushion.
Saint Xavier (26-4 overall) will now make its third all-time appearance in the second round of the NAIA National Championship and take on No. 12 ranked Oklahoma City University (Okla.). The game is scheduled for Friday, March 20, at 9 a.m. at Oman Arena in Jackson, Tenn. The Stars bring a 29-5 overall record into Friday's match-up.View Game Stats