Women's Basketball - Mon, Feb. 28, 2005
Bourbonnais, Ill. - Despite big games by juniors Jacki DiMaggio (Bartlett, Ill./Glenbard North) and Jen Belmonte (Darien, Ill./Hinsdale South), the No. 23 ranked Saint Xavier University women's basketball team could not pick up the win in its regular season, Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) finale Saturday falling 90-87 to Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) in Bourbonnais, Ill. The loss triggered a three-way tie for the CCAC regular season title with Saint Xavier and its 10-2 conference mark sharing the honor with Indiana University-South Bend and Olivet Nazarene University.
DiMaggio and Belmonte each finished with game-highs of 21 points, while DiMaggio also led the team in rebounding and steals with nine and six, respectively. Belmonte had an impressive shooting performance beyond the three-point arc hitting six of her seven trey attempts to tie the SXU single-game record. Freshman guard Sarah Wilson (Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington South) also had a solid outing for Saint Xavier finishing with 13 points and two steals, while sophomore guard Dani Engleman (Oak Park, Ill./River Forest) scored in double figures for the Cougars with 12 points and a game-high six assists.
The game was tight in the first half with seven ties and neither team able to take more than a six-point lead. Olivet had just a two-point advantage, 43-41, heading into halftime thanks in part to a three-point play by DiMaggio in the closing seconds of the half. The Cougars took back the lead early in the second half, but the game stayed close all the way to the end. With Olivet clinging to a slim one-point lead, 84-83, with just under a minute to play, the Tigers hit all six of their six free throw attempts to secure the victory.
Saint Xavier (19-11, 8-2 CCAC) captures at least a share of the CCAC regular season crown for the third time in the last four seasons. However, due to league tie-breaker guidelines, SXU will own the No. 3 seed for the upcoming CCAC Tournament. The Cougars will host No. 6 seeded Illinois Institute of Technology on Tuesday, March 1, at 5 p.m. at the Shannon Center in Chicago.