Winona Lake, Ind. – Despite a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds by junior forward Morgan Stuut (Marcellus, Mich./Three Rivers), the No. 9 ranked Saint Xavier University women's basketball team suffered its first loss Friday falling 89-62 to No. 1 ranked and defending national champion Indiana Wesleyan University in the opener of the Bennigan's Terry Polston Hoops for Hope Tournament hosted by Grace College (Ind.) in Winona Lake, Ind. Foul trouble plagued the Cougars (2-1 overall) throughout the game with the team racking up 27 fouls, which helped lead to 41 free throw attempts by the Wildcats. Senior guard Niara Harris (Richton Park, Ill./Robert Morris/Rich South) was the only other SXU player to score in double figures Friday with 10 points.
The Cougars had difficulty with the hot shooting of the Wildcats in the first half with IWU hitting 65 percent (15-for-23) of its shot attempts en route to a 48-30 halftime lead. The game was tied, 12-12, over the first six minutes of action before Indiana Wesleyan went on an 11-0 run. A trio of three-pointers by sophomore guard Jessica Brown down the stretch of the first half helped the Wildcats extend their lead to as much as 20 points just before the break. Things did not change much in the second half as the hot shooting continued for IWU. The Wildcats shot 56 percent (28-for-50) for the game, including a 60 percent clip (6-for-10) from beyond the three-point arc. SXU was limited to just 36 percent shooting (22-for-61) from the field.
Saint Xavier (2-1 overall) completes play at the Bennigan's Terry Polston Hoops for Hope Tournament at Grace College on Saturday, November 16. The Cougars take on the host Lancers at 2 p.m. (eastern). Grace is currently ranked No. 20 in the NAIA Division II Preseason Top 25 Poll.