Women's Basketball - Sat, Feb. 6, 2010
CHICAGO - Hitting seven of its eight free throw attempts in the final minute of regulation, No. 3 ranked Saint Xavier University was able to hang on and capture a key Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) victory over league-leading University of St. Francis (Ill.), 83-78, in NAIA women's basketball action Saturday afternoon at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The victory avenges SXU's lone loss on the season (23-1 overall), a 77-72 setback to the Fighting Saints back on January 12. Junior guards Alex Barone (Joliet, Ill./Marian Catholic) and Shalonda Young (Chicago, Ill./Crane Tech) each finished with 15 points to lead five players in double figures for the Cougars, who are now tied atop the league with St. Francis with a 6-1 CCAC mark.

Senior guard Kathlyn McClain (Oak Forest, Ill./Converse College/Oak Forest), senior forward Marquita Smith (Chicago, Ill./Central Methodist/Crane Tech) and sophomore guard Marissa Young (Monroe, Wis./St. Joseph's College/Monroe) each scored 13 points for Saint Xavier in Saturday's big win. Marissa Young also pulled down 10 rebounds for SXU, while senior forward Erin Hannemann (Homer Glen, Ill./Providence Catholic) had a solid all-around outing with eight points, six rebounds, six assists and four blocks. Both teams started the game on fire offensively with the score knotted, 15-15, at the 13:41 mark of the first half. However, midway through the frame, SXU used a 12-1 run to go ahead, 31-20, with eight minutes to play before halftime. The Fighting Saints recovered and made a late surge to go into the break trailing by just three, 46-43.

USF would close to within a point twice in the opening minutes of the second half before SXU caught fire again and built an 11-point advantage, 72-61, with 6:24 remaining on a pair of free throws by Shalonda Young. The Fighting Saints would not quit, however, and tied the game again, 74-74, on two free throws by senior forward Kellie Fazio with just under two minutes to play. The Cougars would hit their free throws in the closing minute and St. Francis missed some key shots in the final seconds to help secure the Saint Xavier victory. SXU shot an impressive 55 percent (30-for-55) from the field in the game, including 66 percent (19-for-29) in first-half action.

Saint Xavier (23-1 overall/6-1 CCAC) continues its conference home stand on Tuesday, February 9, with a match-up against Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.). The game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start.