CHICAGO - A three-pointer by junior guard Kayla Mullins with 13 seconds remaining proved to be the deciding basket as University of Saint Francis (Ind.) stunned No. 5 ranked Saint Xavier University, 75-72, in the championship game of the 2010 SXU Holiday Women's Basketball Tournament Wednesday night at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars (9-5 overall) led by as many as 14 points midway through the second half, but could not maintain the big lead scoring just 14 points over the game's final 10 minutes. Following the game, SXU senior guard Shalonda Young (Chicago, Ill./Crane Tech) and junior guard Marissa Young (Monroe, Wis./St. Joseph's College/Monroe) were named to the all-tournament team.
Marissa Young had another big game Wednesday for the Cougars scoring a team-best 19 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists. Shalonda Young was tough as well with another double-double performance of 18 points and 11 rebounds, while junior forward Mary Kusner (Des Plaines, Ill./Maine West) posted 14 points and 10 rebounds. Senior point guard Alex Barone (Joliet, Ill./Marian Catholic) chipped in 10 points for Saint Xavier. Saint Francis was led by Mullins with a game-high 28 points, including a 10-for-11 performance from the free-throw line. Senior guard Julie Seiss turned in 18 points and six rebounds toward the winning effort. Mullins and senior center Chanell Ridley were named to the all-tournament team, while Seiss was given the tourney's Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.
SXU led a majority of the game, but never truly got a comfortable lead until a 20-9 scoring run pushed their lead to 14 points at the 10:04 mark of the second half. However, USF kept the Cougars off the scoreboard for over three minutes and scored 10 unanswered points during the stretch to close to within a basket, 66-64. Saint Francis would take its first lead of the second half, 69-68, on a lay-up by Seiss with just under two minutes to play in regulation. The two teams would swap buckets in the closing seconds before Mullins' big three-pointer sealed the outcome.
Saint Xavier (9-5 overall) takes the rest of the week off before continuing its season in 2011 with a home game against Georgetown College (Ky.). The contest is scheduled for Monday, January 3, at 4 p.m. at the Shannon Center in Chicago.