CHICAGO – Lighting it up from long range to the tune of eight three-pointers and a game-best 28 points, freshman guard Maddie Welter (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) led No. 3 Saint Xavier University to a convincing 73-55 win over No. 11 ranked Indiana Wesleyan University (Ind.) in NAIA women's basketball action Thursday afternoon as part of the SXU Holiday Classic at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars improved to 14-0 overall on the year with the victory and kept their streak alive of all double-digit margin wins this season. Welter was named to the four-player all-tournament team following Thursday's game. Junior guard Kara Krolicki (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) also had a big game for SXU scoring 25 points and pulling down five rebounds.
Senior guard Mikayla Leyden (Chicago, Ill./Trinity) finished in double figures in scoring as well for the Cougars posting 10 points to go along with her game-leading seven assists. Junior center Brittany Collins (Des Plaines, Ill./Maine West) was tough on the boards racking up a game-high 10 rebounds, while also blocking two shots. The Wildcats were led by senior guard Kelsey Key with 13 points and five assists. Key earned a spot on the all-tournament team as well. Trailing 9-7 with six minutes left to play in the first quarter, Welter hit a three-pointer that sparked a 15-5 run to close out the opening frame and put SXU ahead, 22-14. The momentum carried over to the second quarter where Saint Xavier's tough defense limited the Wildcats to just eight points, which helped build a 43-22 halftime advantage. A three-pointer by Leyden at the 5:52 mark of the third quarter gave the Cougars a 26-point advantage (54-28), their largest of the game. IWU was able to trim the deficit to 14 points a couple of times in the fourth quarter, but that was as close as the game would get in the second half.
Saint Xavier (14-0 overall/6-0 CCAC) takes the weekend off to celebrate the New Year and returns to action with a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) home game against Judson University (Ill.) on Tuesday, January 3. The game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start at the Shannon Center.