CHICAGO – A pair of free throws by freshman guard/forward Suzie Broski (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) with 10 seconds remaining helped the No. 14 ranked Saint Xavier University women's basketball team pick up a thrilling 57-54 victory over Robert Morris University in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) action Saturday afternoon at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars (17-6 overall/4-1 CCAC) had three players score in double figures led by 15 points from senior guard Marissa Young (Monroe, Wis./St. Joseph's College/Monroe). Young also finished with seven rebounds and a game-best five steals. Broski posted 14 points and six rebounds towards the winning effort, while freshman guard/forward Morgan Stuut (Marcellus, Mich./Three Rivers) had 13 points and eight boards for SXU.
The first half started off slow with both teams applying a ton of defensive pressure and limiting the opposition's offensive opportunities. However, midway through the first half, SXU started a 9-0 run to go ahead, 24-15, with 4:21 remaining in the frame. The Cougars tightened up the defense as well and limited the Eagles to just 30 percent (8-for-27) shooting from the field in first-half action to take a 30-20 lead into halftime. RMU also tallied 13 turnovers before the break. Saint Xavier was tough down low scoring 20 points in the paint and out-rebounding Robert Morris, 24-15, in the first half.
The second half was a different story as the Eagles focused on getting after the boards and improving its shot selection. In the first seven minutes of the new half, RMU made it a one-possession game, 39-36, on a lay-up by senior guard Christina Barnett with just over 13 minutes left in the contest. Back-to-back lay-ups by Stuut helped push the SXU lead back up to nine, 52-43, at the six-minute mark. However, the next four minutes belonged to the Eagles with a 9-0 run that tied the game, 52-52, with two minutes to play. A lay-up by Young would end the drought and give the Cougars a two-point advantage with 1:49 left. It would end up being an important bucket as missed shots by Robert Morris in the closing seconds would help lead to key free throw attempts by SXU down the stretch, including the pair by Broski. Senior forward Brittany Jones (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) led the Cougars in rebounding with nine boards. RMU was paced by sophomores Uniqua Hampton and Celeste Jones with 14 points apiece.
Saint Xavier (17-6 overall/4-1 CCAC) heads to Palos Heights, Ill., on Wednesday, February 8, for a non-conference road game against Trinity Christian College. The game is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off.