Women's Basketball - Fri, Nov. 27, 2009
Jackson, Tenn. - It has been said that in order to be the best, you have to beat the best. The No. 7 ranked Saint Xavier University women's basketball team did just that Friday evening with a 94-87 victory over No. 1 ranked and defending national champion Union University (Tenn.) in the first game of the Lambuth University Classic in Jackson, Tenn. Senior guard Kathlyn McClain (Oak Forest, Ill./Converse College/Marian Catholic) had a huge game for the undefeated Cougars (7-0 overall) leading all scorers with a season-high 27 points, including four three-pointers. The Bulldogs came into the game riding a 31-game win streak, the second longest in the top-ranked program's 39-year history. The last loss for the national champs came on December 13, 2008, against Lee University (Tenn.), 88-72. In fact, since the start of the 2007-08 season, Union has won 79 of its last 81 contests.
"In the 10-year history of our program, this is definitely one of the biggest wins," said Saint Xavier University women's basketball coach Bob Hallberg. "To go on the road and get a victory over perennial powerhouse and defending national champion Union University is no easy task and I have the utmost respect for Mark Campbell (Union head coach) and his program. Our women just came out motivated and played with great composure. It was a great team victory."
SXU came out on fire offensively scoring the game's first 11 points and jumping out to a 19-4 lead in the opening six minutes of play following a long jumper by McClain. The Cougars hit 12 of their first 16 shots (75 percent) from the field to start the game. Saint Xavier kept the pressure on throughout the first half and took its largest lead of the game, 53-30, into the locker room at the break. Union cut into the large deficit early in the second half hitting six of its first eight shots of the period, including a trio of three-pointers, to help close within 12 points, 59-47. However, a three-pointer by McClain and a lay-up by senior forward Erin Hannemann (Homer Glen, Ill./Providence Catholic) pushed the lead back up to 17 points, 64-47, with just over 13 minutes to play in regulation. Hannemann finished with a big game as well for the Cougars posting 22 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
The Bulldogs tried to rally and pulled within 11 points, 73-62, with just under six minutes remaining, but another big three-pointer by McClain helped push the game out of reach. In the final minute, Union would connect on some three-point attempts to eliminate the double-digit lead, but in the end could not overcome the huge halftime deficit. Junior point guard Kayla Hudson finished with 25 points to lead the Bulldogs. Never trailing in the game, SXU shot 58 percent (33-for-57) from the field, including a stellar 63 percent (22-for-35) in first-half action.
Saint Xavier (7-0 overall) wraps up the Lambuth University Classic on Saturday, November 28, with a match-up against host and No. 9 ranked Lambuth University (Tenn.). The game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. tip-off.