Jackson, Tenn. - With three games over three nights against a trio of teams ranked in the NAIA's Top 10, the No. 13 ranked Saint Xavier University women's basketball team wanted to make a statement in its opening game of the Union University Rotary Classic Thursday night in Jackson, Tenn. That statement came with an exclamation point as the Cougars came out on fire jumping out to a quick 11-2 lead and never trailing in a 77-60 victory over No. 6 Bethel University (Tenn.). Four SXU players scored in double figures led by 19 points from senior guard Michelle Tourtillott (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South). The Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season at 4-1 overall, while Saint Xavier improves to 4-0 on the year.
Senior forward Brittany Jones (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) just missed a double-double performance with 16 points and nine rebounds, while senior guard Marissa Young (Monroe, Wis./St. Joseph's College/Monroe) got it done with 15 points and a game-best 12 rebounds. The Cougars also got another great outing from freshman guard/forward Morgan Stuut (Marcellus, Mich./Three Rivers) with 15 points and eight boards. Saint Xavier had its best shooting performance of the season hitting 50 percent (33-for-66) from the field, including a 54-percent clip (20-for-37) in first-half action.
A pair of early three-pointers by Tourtillott set the tone in the game's opening three minutes as the Cougars jumped out to their 11-2 advantage. The Lady Wildcats cut into SXU's big lead making it 15-9 with just under 16 minutes to play in the first half. However, Saint Xavier went on a 9-0 run capped by a Young three-pointer to go up, 24-9, at the 13-minute mark. The Cougars took care of business the rest of the frame not letting Bethel get any closer than nine points and taking a 48-31 lead into halftime highlighted by a 42-foot running three-pointer by Young at the buzzer. The second half was completely controlled by SXU as the team never relinquished its double-digit advantage over the final 20 minutes of play.
Saint Xavier (4-0 overall) continues play at the Union University Rotary Classic on Friday, November 18, with a game against No. 6 ranked Freed-Hardeman University (Tenn.). The game is scheduled for a 8 p.m. (central) start.