CHICAGO – Falling behind 28-17 after the first quarter of play, No. 3 ranked Saint Xavier University suffered its first loss of the season with a tough 80-70 setback to No. 1 ranked University of St. Francis (Ill.) in its highly anticipated Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) match-up Saturday afternoon at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars (16-1 overall/8-1 CCAC) could not get shots to fall in the first half hitting just nine of their 29 attempts (31 percent), while the Fighting Saints hit at 56 percent (19-for-34) clip en route to a 49-26 halftime lead. Senior guard Mikayla Leyden (Chicago, Ill./Trinity) and junior center Brittany Collins (Des Plaines, Ill./Maine West) each scored 18 points for SXU, while Collins also logged a new career-best rebounding total with 17 boards and Leyden tallied a game-high eight assists.
Junior guard Kara Krolicki (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) recorded 16 points and four assists and freshman guard/forward Chanel Fanter (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake South) added 15 points and three blocks. Senior guard Charnelle Reed and junior guard Kamari Jordan both scored 20 points to lead USF Saturday. The Cougars trimmed the deficit to 17 points (64-47) heading into the final frame after shooting 62 percent (8-for-13) in the third quarter. Saint Xavier continued to cut into the Fighting Saints' lead in the fourth quarter and got it as close as nine (79-70) on a three-pointer by Krolicki in the final minute. Turnovers were also an issue for SXU as the team committed 17 in the game. USF improves its season record to 16-0 overall and 9-0 in the CCAC with the road victory.
Saint Xavier (16-1 overall/8-1 CCAC) continues conference play on Wednesday, January 11, with a home game against Saint Ambrose University (Iowa). The game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start at the Shannon Center.