CHICAGO - Junior forward Morgan Stuut (Marcellus, Mich./Three Rivers) posted team-bests of 16 points, 19 rebounds, four steals and two blocks to power No. 8 ranked Saint Xavier University to a 70-48 win over Lourdes University (Ohio) in NAIA women's basketball action Sunday afternoon on the final day of the SXU Holiday Classic at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars (13-3 overall) held the Gray Wolves to just 29 percent shooting (17-for-59) from the field and used 12 steals to help force 18 turnovers. After the game, Stuut was named to the Classic's all-tournament team. With the victory, SXU completes the month of December with a perfect 8-0 mark.
Senior point guard Niara Harris (Richton Park, Ill./Robert Morris/Rich South) converted six of her seven shot attempts on the day for 13 points for the Cougars, while junior guard Suzie Broski (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) chipped in 10 points and four rebounds. Senior point guard Jordan Brandt (Winamac, Ind./Winamac) hit a pair of three-pointers en route to eight points and two steals. SXU got nice production from its bench Sunday with 29 of its 70 points coming from the reserves. The Cougars also took full advantage of the turnovers by Lourdes scoring 29 points off the miscues.
Three-pointers by freshmen Meaghan McMahon (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) and Mikayla Leyden (Chicago, Ill./Trinity) highlighted a 10-1 run by Saint Xavier to open the game. The Gray Wolves crept back and closed to within a basket, 16-14, with just over eight minutes to play in the half. However, SXU closed out the frame strong outscoring Lourdes, 26-8 over the final eight minutes to build a 42-22 halftime advantage. Saint Xavier shot 50 percent from the field (17-for-34) in the first half, which included seven three-pointers. The second half was more of the same as the Cougars extended their lead as high as 28 points and held at least a 20-point edge for most of the frame.
In the final game of the Classic, senior guard Tikeyiah Johnson led five Robert Morris players in double figures with 22 points as the Eagles held on for a 75-67 victory over Ashford University (Iowa). RMU led by 19 points at the half, 41-22, but the Saints rallied late and cut the deficit to five points, 65-60, with 1:22 to play. Robert Morris hit its free throws down the stretch to secure the win. Following the game, Johnson and Ashford's junior guard Madison Wagner were both named to the all-tournament team.
Saint Xavier (13-3 overall/4-1 CCAC) returns to action and Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) play on Wednesday, January 8, with a home game against Trinity Christian College (Ill.). The game starts at 5 p.m. at the Shannon Center in Chicago.