CHICAGO – Senior forward Brittany Jones (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) tied a school record with seven blocks to go along with nine points and 13 rebounds as No. 10 ranked Saint Xavier University held off a second-half charge by Siena Heights University (Mich.) to capture an 88-74 win in the first day of the eight-team SXU Holiday Tournament Tuesday at the Shannon Center in Chicago. Freshmen guards Morgan Stuut (Marcellus, Mich./Three Rivers) and Suzie Broski (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) also had big nights for the Cougars. Broski led the team in scoring with 23 points on 11-for-16 shooting from the field, while Stuut posted her sixth double-double effort of the young season with 19 points and career-best 14 rebounds.
Senior guard Marissa Young (Monroe, Wis./St. Joseph's College/Monroe) had a nice return after missing over five weeks of action with an injury. Young shot 5-for-6 from the floor and scored 15 points off the bench, while also recording five assists and three steals. The Cougars were strong out of the gate and built a 20-7 lead in the game's opening eight minutes. Saint Xavier maintained its double-digit advantage throughout the remainder of the first half and took a 42-29 lead into the locker room. In the second half, SXU started out strong again and extended its lead to 23 points, 54-31, on a jumper by Stuut less than three minutes into the period.
However, the next 10 minutes were controlled by the Saints as Siena Heights used a 33-13 run to make it a three-point game, 67-64, with 7:45 to play in regulation. Broski and Stuut got the Cougars back on track though propelling a 13-6 run over the next five minutes to give their team an 80-70 lead with three minutes remaining. Key free throws down the stretch by Young, Jones and sophomore point guard Jordan Brandt (Winamac, Ind./Winamac) kept the lead safe in the closing minutes. SXU shot 46 percent (31-for-67) from the field Tuesday and tallied 23 assists in the winning effort.
Saint Xavier (11-3 overall) continues play in the SXU Holiday Tournament with a 7 p.m. match-up Wednesday night against Roosevelt University (Ill.). The winner of that game will advance to Thursday's championship game scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Shannon Center.