Sioux City, Iowa – Jumping out to a 13-2 lead in the first five minutes of play, No. 1 seeded and No. 2 ranked University of Saint Francis (Ind.) never looked back in defeating No. 5 seeded Saint Xavier University, 82-69, in second round action of the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship Friday afternoon at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa. With the loss, the Cougars end their season with an overall record of 25-7. USF was dominant in the lane throughout the game holding a 55-27 rebounding edge and outscoring SXU 48-20 in the paint. Sophomore guard/forward Morgan Stuut (Marcellus, Mich./Three Rivers) led the Cougars on the day recording team-bests of 13 points and six rebounds.
Junior guard Niara Harris (Richton Park, Ill./Robert Morris/Rich South) was the only other Saint Xavier to score in double figures notching 10 points off the bench on 4-for-7 shooting from the floor. Saint Francis built momentum throughout the first half pushing its early lead all the way up to 19 points and took a 44-25 lead into the locker room at halftime. USF pushed its lead to 25 points (52-27) early in the second half before SXU used a 7-0 run to cut it to 18 points, 52-34. Senior guard Maureen Riley (Alma, Mich./Sacred Heart Academy) hit a three-pointer to spark the run. Unfortunately for the Cougars, that was as close as it would get until the final minute of play when three-pointers by Harris and Riley helped trim the deficit to 13.
Saint Xavier wraps up the 2012-13 campaign with a 25-7 overall record and finished in a four-way tie for second place in the highly competitive Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) with a 17-5 mark. The Cougars finished the regular season ranked No. 18 in the final NAIA Top 25 Poll.