CHICAGO – Garnering the program's 300th victory since its inception in 2000, the No. 15 ranked and No. 2 seeded Saint Xavier University women's basketball team took control of the game early and pulled away for an 87-67 win over No. 6 seed Indiana University-South Bend (IUSB) in the semifinals of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Tournament Thursday at the Shannon Center in Chicago. It was also victory No. 300 (300-93 career mark) for SXU head coach Bob Hallberg in his women's basketball coaching career. Senior guard Marissa Young (Monroe, Wis./St. Joseph's College/Monroe) led the way for the Cougars with game-highs of 20 points and seven assists. Saint Xavier improves to 22-8 overall this season with the win, while the Titans end the year at 12-20.
Freshman guard/forward Morgan Stuut (Marcellus, Mich./Three Rivers) also had a nice night for SXU netting her 13thdouble-double of the year with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Michelle Tourtillott (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South) scored in double figures as well for the Cougars with 12 points off the bench. Indiana-South Bend was paced by senior guard Lizzie Stapke with 13 points and eight rebounds. The Saint Xavier defense was tough throughout racking up 14 steals in the game, which helped lead to 28 Titan turnovers.
The Cougars opened the game on a 19-9 run taking advantage of 11 turnovers by IUSB in the game's first 10 minutes. SXU continued to pour on the defensive pressure for the remainder of the frame and took a 47-25 lead into the locker room at the half. Saint Xavier scored 23 of its 47 first-half points off the Indiana-South Bend miscues. The second half was more evenly matched, but the deficit proved to be too large as the Cougars hung on to capture the 20-point decision, 87-67.
Saint Xavier (22-8 overall/7-3 CCAC) will now host the tournament championship game with the loss earlier Thursday evening by No. 1 seed Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) to No. 4 seed Robert Morris University, 102-99. The Cougars will face Robert Morris on Saturday, March 3, at 1 p.m. at the Shannon Center. Winner of that game receives an automatic bid to the 2012 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship in Frankfort, Ky., which starts on March 14.