Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. – Sophomore forward Morgan Stuut (Marcellus, Mich./Three Rivers) sank all four of her free throws in the final 20 seconds of play to allow the No. 12 ranked Saint Xavier University women's basketball team to seal a 68-59 victory over Siena Heights University (Mich.) Wednesday in its second and final game of the Cruzin Classic in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Stuut had an amazing afternoon surpassing 30 points for the first time in her career with 32 points. Sophomore guard Suzie Broski (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) was also key to Wednesday's win for the Cougars recording 24 points, four rebounds and five assists. Defense was a key component again for Saint Xavier with the Saints shooting just 28 percent (7-for-25) from the field in first-half action and committing 21 turnovers in the game, nine coming off Cougar steals.
Stuut helped lead SXU on the boards along with junior forward Chrissy Heine (Hampshire, Ill./Hampshire) with the pair each pulling down seven rebounds on the day. Senior guard Romisha Taylor (Chicago, Ill./Von Stueben) was instrumental in the offense productivity Wednesday dishing out a game-best eight assists to go along with her five points. Siena Heights jumped out to an early 11-5 lead in the game's first eight minutes. The Cougars fought back and a jumper by Broski with just over 11 minutes to play in the first half gave Saint Xavier its first lead of the afternoon, 12-11. SXU maintained the lead until the final seconds of the half when a lay-up by SHU senior forward Amanda Duke put the Saints ahead by one, 23-22. However, a lay-up by junior forward Dana Sibley (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North) in the closing seconds gave the Cougars a one-point edge at halftime, 24-23.
Saint Xavier carried the momentum into the second half going ahead by six points, 35-29, on a lay-up by Taylor just over four minutes into the frame. The Cougars pushed the lead into double figures going ahead by as many as 11 points. The Saints fought to the very end closing the gap to just four points, 63-59, with 34 seconds remaining in regulation before Taylor and Stuut hit key free throws to put the game out of reach. Siena Heights falls to 8-5 overall with the loss.
Saint Xavier (9-3 overall/7-3 CCAC) takes a break for the Christmas holiday and resumes its season on Thursday, December 27, hosting the three-day SXU Holiday Tournament at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars take on Ashford University (Iowa) on the tourney's first day with the game set for a 7 p.m. start.