Frankfort, Ky.– Senior guard Marissa Young (Monroe, Wis./St. Joseph's College/Monroe) finished with 19 points, but it was not enough as No. 14 ranked Saint Xavier University could not overcome a tough shooting day and fell to No. 4 Westmont College (Calif.), 70-56, in the second round of the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship presented by Kentuckytourism.com Friday at the Frankfort Convention Center in Frankfort, Ky. The Cougars end their 2011-12 season with a 24-9 overall record. SXU hit just 26 percent (17-for-66) of its shots from the floor in the game. The Cougars were especially tough defensively in first-half action helping to cause 17 Warrior turnovers with 10 steals.
Freshman guard/forward Morgan Stuut (Marcellus, Mich./Three Rivers) was the only other Saint Xavier player to finish in double figures in scoring with 15 points to go along with seven rebounds and four steals. She becomes the first SXU women's basketball player to record over 300 rebounds in a season with 302. Stuut is also the first freshman player to score over 500 points in a season since Saint Xavier Hall of Famer Mary Cain did it in the program's first season (2000-01). Senior forward Mary Kusner (Des Plaines, Ill./Maine West) had another nice game for the Cougars Friday with eight points and six rebounds.
SXU kept the score within five until the eight-minute mark of the opening period when eight straight points from sophomore forward Kelsie Sampson pushed the Warrior lead to 30-21 with 4:29 remaining. However, the Cougars answered with six straight points, all coming at the foul line, to make it 32-28 at the half. After trading baskets to open the second half, Westmont seized control of the contest with an 11-2 surge to push its advantage out to 50-32 at the 12:19 mark. Saint Xavier would cut the deficit back to eight points twice with the last coming with five minutes to play. Unfortunately for the Cougars, Westmont's perimeter defense and post offense were able to stifle any further chance at a late rally.
Saint Xavier finishes the season with a 24-9 overall record. The Cougars finished second in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) regular season standings with a 7-3 mark and won an automatic bid to the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship by winning the CCAC Tournament back on March 3.