CHICAGO – When it is this cold outside, throwing a block party can help warm things up and bring us back to the days of summer. Sophomore forward Caitlin McMahon (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) played host to her own block party Saturday afternoon in helping lead No. 8 ranked Saint Xavier University women's basketball team over Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) rival and No. 6 ranked Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.), 75-63, on Bob Hallberg Court at the Shannon Center in Chicago. McMahon logged the first triple-double of her collegiate career and only the third ever recorded in SXU women's basketball history with 11 points, 14 rebounds and a school record-breaking 10 blocked shots.
Junior forward Morgan Stuut (Marcellus, Mich./Three Rivers) also had a huge game for the Cougars falling one assist shy of her own triple-double effort with 16 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. Senior guard Niara Harris (Richton Park, Ill./Robert Morris/Rich South) also scored in double figures with 15 points, while junior guard Suzie Broski (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) tallied 12 points and five rebounds for Saint Xavier. Senior guard Julie Raeder paced the visiting Wolves with 22 points to go along with nine rebounds. SXU used tough defense to limit CSU to just 32 shooting from the field (23-for-71) for the game.
The Cougars came out firing jumping out to a quick 5-0 lead in the first minute of action. The hot streak continued as three-pointers by senior point guard Jordan Brandt (Winamac, Ind./Winamac) and Harris helped fuel a 12-4 run to give the hosts a 17-6 lead with 14:22 to play in the half. The lead went as high as 16 points in the opening frame, 35-19, following a three-point play by Harris at the 6:11 mark and SXU went to the locker room at halftime sporting a 43-29 advantage. The Cougars continued to extend their lead as high as 23 points early in the second half before the Wolves started heating up. Midway through the half, Cardinal Stritch outscored Saint Xavier, 21-8, over an eight-minute stretch to close to within eight points, 71-63, with two minutes to play. Free throws by Broski and a late lay-up by Harris kept it from getting any closer.
Saint Xavier (21-3 overall/11-1 CCAC) returns to action on Wednesday, February 5, with another big conference home game against No. 18 ranked Purdue University-Calumet (Ind.). The game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start at the Shannon Center.