Hammond, Ind. - A running jumper by senior guard Miranda Geever as time expired gave No. 4 seed Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) a thrilling 91-89 upset win over No. 5 ranked and No. 2 seed Saint Xavier University in the semifinals of the 2014 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Women's Basketball Tournament Friday night at the PUC Fitness & Recreation Center in Hammond, Ind. The game proved to be a tale of two halves as SXU was in control for most of the first half shooting 56 percent (23-for-41) from the field en route to a 54-47 halftime lead. However, the second half was a completely different story as the Cougars struggled to get shots to fall connecting on 37 percent (14-for-38) of their shots after the break.
Junior forward Morgan Stuut (Marcellus, Mich./Three Rivers) had another huge game totaling 33 points and 15 rebounds for her 24th double-double of the season. She also broke the single-season scoring record for the SXU women's basketball program Friday moving up to 667 points on the year surpassing the 646 points scored by former standout Erin Hannemann during the 2008-09 season. Stuut also became the first Saint Xavier women's basketball player to eclipse 400 rebounds in a season moving up to 414. Junior guard Suzie Broski (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) also had a big night with 27 points on 12-for-23 shooting from the field. Senior guard Niara Harris (Richton Park, Ill./Robert Morris/Rich South) scored in double figures as well for SXU with 13 points.
Things looked promising early for Saint Xavier after building an early 20-12 lead on a lay-up by Broski and going ahead by as many as 17 points, 47-30, with four minutes left in the first half on a three-pointer by Harris. However, the Tigers closed out the frame with a 17-7 run led by five three-pointers to trim the Cougars' lead to 54-47 at the break. Lay-ups by Stuut and Broski early in the second half pushed the lead back into double digits, but ONU used a 10-4 run to cut the deficit to just five, 64-59, with just over 13 minutes left to play. A three-pointer by senior guard Liz Bart tied the game, 74-74, with 6:32 remaining and the game stayed tight the rest of the way setting the stage for Geever's late-game heroics. Olivet Nazarene finished the game with an amazing 17 made three-pointers over 39 attempts for a 44-percent clip.
Saint Xavier (27-5 overall/16-2 CCAC) is eliminated from the CCAC Tournament and now awaits an at-large bid for the 2014 NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championships. The national tournament begins on Wednesday, March 12, at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.