Women's Basketball - Wed, Mar. 2, 2005
CHICAGO - Behind a team-high 19 points by junior forward and Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Co-Player of the Year Jacki DiMaggio (Bartlett, Ill./Glenbard North), the No. 25 ranked Saint Xavier University women's basketball team picked up a 90-79 win over visiting Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) Tuesday in first round action of the 2005 CCAC Tournament at the Shannon Center in Chicago. With the win, the No. 3 seeded Cougars hit the 20-win mark for the fifth consecutive season with an overall record of 20-11 and advance to the second round to face No. 2 seed Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) Thursday at 7 p.m. in Bourbonnais, Ill.

In addition to DiMaggio, four other SXU players finished in double figures in Tuesday's win. Senior forward Rachel Merkell (Munster, Ind./Munster) had 17 points and a team-high 12 rebounds just one day after being named to the 2005 All-CCAC First Team. Sophomore Dani Engleman (Oak Park, Ill./River Forest) turned in 13 points and also dished out a team-high five assists and had a game-high six steals. Sophomore guard Candis Jackson (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young), who also earned All-CCAC First Team honors this season, racked up 10 points in the winning effort along with freshman forward Jennifer Stinich (Westchester, Ill./Nazareth Academy).

IIT kept things close in the first half trailing by only four points, 45-41, at halftime. However, despite a game-high 28 points for sophomore guard Angie Brown, the Scarlet Hawks could not overcome 35 turnovers, which helped Saint Xavier rack up 23 steals, and slowly lost momentum in the second half. SXU scored 30 points off Illinois Tech miscues and also did a good job moving the ball around for good shots finishing with 20 assists as a team.

Saint Xavier (20-11, 10-2 CCAC) will face off against No. 2 seed Olivet Nazarene University on Thursday, March 3, at 7 p.m. for the second round of the CCAC playoffs in Bourbonnais, Ill.