CHICAGO – Tying the game at 75-75 with just over three minutes remaining after trailing by 17 points earlier in the second half, the No. 8 ranked Saint Xavier University women's basketball team could not sustain the late momentum and fell 87-81 to Purdue University-Calumet (Ind.) in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) action Saturday afternoon at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The loss ends a 14-game win streak for the Cougars, who fall to 21-4 overall and 15-4 in the conference standings. The Peregrines improve to 17-7 on the year and 14-4 in CCAC play. Junior forward Chrissy Heine (Hampshire, Ill./Hampshire) had a huge game for SXU Saturday establishing a new career-high scoring mark with 22 points to go along with seven rebounds. Her previous high was 16 points in a victory over Huntington University (Ind.) on December 28, 2012.
Other notable performances for the Cougars included 15 points for junior point guard Jordan Brandt (Winamac, Ind./Winamac) and a double-double effort of 10 points and team-high 11 rebounds by sophomore guard Suzie Broski (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic). Sophomore guard/forward Morgan Stuut (Marcellus, Mich./Three Rivers) finished the game with nine points and eight rebounds, while sophomore forward Margaret Wildner (Oak Lawn, Ill./Mother McAuley) just missed a double-double as well with nine points and 10 rebounds. PUC was led by senior guard Alex Starr with a game-best 23 points, including a 10-for-11 clip from the free throw line. Saint Xavier struggled offensively in the first half hitting just 31 percent of its shot attempts (11-for-36) and that allowed the visiting Peregrines to build as high as a 14-point, first-half advantage. SXU trailed 35-27 at the break and Purdue-Calumet came out firing early in the second half to take a 53-36 lead with 14:37 left to play.
The Cougars did not go down quietly though and slowly chipped away at the big deficit over the next 10 minutes of play before closing to within a bucket, 73-71, at the 4:18 mark on a lay-up by Wildner. A lay-up by Stuut on SXU's next possession tied the game, 73-73, but the Peregrines responded right away with a lay-up by freshman center Patrice McBee on the other end. However, Heine knocked down a jumper for the Cougars to tie things up again, 75-75, with 3:13 left to play. Unfortunately for Saint Xavier, Starr found the bottom of the net on PUC's next possession giving the visitors the lead for good. SXU had its chances in the final two minutes trailing by two or three points multiple times. However, the Cougars called a timeout they did not have with 25 seconds remaining which gave the Peregrines an extra point at the free throw line and PUC hit two more free throws on its next possession to help secure the victory.
Saint Xavier (21-4 overall/15-4 CCAC) travels to Joliet, Ill., for a big conference road battle against rival University of St. Francis (Ill.) on Wednesday, February 6. The game is set for a 5 p.m. start at the Sullivan Recreation Center.