Bourbonnais, Ill. - Behind a combined 31 points and a spot on the all-tournament team by junior guard Michelle Tourtillott (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South), the No. 6 ranked Saint Xavier University women's basketball team split a pair of tough games at the Olivet Nazarene University CCAC Challenge this past weekend in Bourbonnais, Ill. The Cougars (7-2 overall) gave No. 1 ranked and defending national champs Union University (Tenn.) all it could handle in a 71-63 loss Friday and then bounced back in a big way with a 73-60 victory over No. 14 Trevecca Nazarene University (Tenn.). Senior guard Shalonda Young (Chicago, Ill./Crane Tech) also had an excellent weekend for SXU finishing with a combined 32 points and 18 rebounds at the tourney.
In the first game of the Challenge Friday, Tourtillott hit some big shots, including four three-pointers, to help Saint Xavier keep it tight with an undefeated Union squad (9-0 overall). The Cougars led by six points, 38-32, at the half after leading for a majority of the first half. The Bulldogs rallied early in the second half and was able to take a lead, but the game remained tight the rest of the way as Union pulled away with free throws in the closing minute of regulation. Senior center Zeinab Chan led the way for the Bulldogs with game-bests of 26 points and 18 rebounds, while junior guard Lavanda Ross posted 21 points and eight rebounds. Shalonda Young had 15 points and eight rebounds for SXU, while senior point guard Alex Barone (Joliet, Ill./Marian Catholic) and junior guard Marissa Young (Monroe, Wis./St. Joseph's College/Monroe) each tallied 11 points. Saint Xavier did a great job of taking care of the basketball in Friday's contest committing just eight turnovers.
Marissa Young led the way for the Cougars in Saturday's big win over Trevecca Nazarene finishing with a game-best 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the floor. Shalonda Young posted a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Tourtillott chipped in 11 points and four steals toward the victory. SXU used its stingy defense to frustrate Trevecca Nazarene throughout the game. The Cougars recorded 15 steals in the game, which helped lead to 28 turnovers by the Trojans. SXU rode a big first half and took a 48-26 lead into the locker room at halftime. Sophomore forward Rachel Raby led TNU with 15 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
Saint Xavier (7-2 overall) heads to Daytona Beach, Fla., for the Daytona Beach Shootout, which begins on Sunday, December 19. The Cougars open the event with a 4 p.m. (central) game against No. 15 ranked Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.).