Sioux City, Iowa – Sophomore guard Suzie Broski (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) led the way for the No. 5 seeded Saint Xavier University women's basketball team with a game-high 24 points on 12-of-20 shooting en route to a 70-49 victory over No. 4 seed St. Thomas University (Fla.) in the first round of the State Farm-NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa. Freshman forward Caitlin McMahon (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) had one of the best games of her young career posting a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds on the morning in her first national tournament appearance. SXU advances to the second round and faces No. 1 seed University of Saint Francis (Ind.) at noon on Friday, March 8 at the Tyson Events Center.
Junior point guard Jordan Brandt (Winamac, Ind./Winamac) narrowly missed her career-high scoring total (16) after dropping 15 points in the win over the Bobcats hitting five of her seven attempts from beyond the three-point arc. Sophomore guard/forward Morgan Stuut (Marcellus, Mich./Three Rivers) pulled down a game-best 13 rebounds and chipped in six points. SXU held the St. Thomas offense in check not allowing any of its players to reach double figures in points and holding the Bobcats to just 30-percent shooting (18-of-59). The Cougars found themselves down 8-2 after the opening four minutes of play, but used a 9-3 run to tie the game, 11-11, with 13:34 remaining in the half. SXU took a 20-14 lead after a three-pointer by Brandt capped a 7-1 run, but the Bobcats responded with a 5-0 run to trim the Cougar lead to a point, 20-19. Saint Xavier pushed its lead to double figures, 33-22, with just under three minutes remaining in the half. The girls went into the break ahead, 39-25, and ended the first half shooting a stellar 52 percent (14-of-27) from the field.
SXU came out firing again in the second half boasting a 7-0 run to open the frame and extending its lead to 46-25 capped by another three-pointer from Brandt. The Cougars increased their lead up to 30 points, 62-32, with 10:13 left to play after a three-pointer by Stuut. From that point, Saint Xavier never looked back building as high as a 31-point advantage and never letting it get closer than 23 points the rest of the way. SXU turned the STU miscues into points throughout the contest converting 18 Bobcat turnovers into 22 points for the Cougars on the other end highlighted by a game-best five steals from senior point guard Romisha Taylor (Chicago, Ill./Von Stueben).
Saint Xavier (25-6 overall/17-5 CCAC) will play University of Saint Francis (Ind.) Friday in the second round of the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship. SXU already played USF earlier this season logging a 78-61 victory over the then-No. 7 ranked Cougars from Fort Wayne, Ind., on December 29, 2012, in Saint Xavier's annual Holiday Tournament. The game is slated for a noon start at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.