Women's Basketball - Tue, Jan. 11, 2005
CHICAGO - Despite game-highs of 24 points and four steals from senior forward Rachel Merkell (Munster, Ind./Munster), the Saint Xavier University women's basketball team could not get its offense clicking when it counted dropping its Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) opener to Indiana University-South Bend, 77-73, in overtime Tuesday at the Shannon Center in Chicago. SXU fall to 8-10 overall (0-1 CCAC) with the loss which snapped a six-game win streak for the Cougars, while Indiana University-South Bend improves to 10-7 (1-0 CCAC).

Junior forward Jacki DiMaggio (Bartlett, Ill./Glenbard North) also had an impressive game for SXU with 18 points and a team-high nine rebounds, while sophomore guard Candis Jackson (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) finished with 16 points. The Lady Titans were led by freshman forward Jessica Hass, who finished with 19 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, while senior forward Emily Ladd turned in 15 points and nine boards. The Cougar defense helped force 24 IUSB turnovers in the game, but the Lady Titans won the battle of the boards with a 53-31 rebounding edge.

The game was exciting throughout with 16 lead changes and 15 ties. Saint Xavier had a three-point lead, 40-37, at halftime and extended its lead to seven early in the half. However, Indiana-South Bend was able to tie the game, 48-48, with 14 minutes remaining in regulation and it stayed close the rest of the way. Merkell hit a big jumper with 15 seconds remaining in the second half to tie the game, 69-69, and then came up with a big steal on the other end of the floor to keep the Lady Titans from scoring at the end of regulation.

In overtime, SXU had trouble hitting shots going 0-for-8 from the field in the extra frame, while IUSB got big shots down low from Hass and junior guard Stephanie Campbell down the stretch. With 25 seconds remaining, Merkell hit two free throws to cut the Lady Titan advantage to two, 75-73, but IUSB hit its two free throws on the ensuing possession to secure the four-point victory.

Saint Xavier heads to Hammond, Ind., on Saturday, January 15, to take on CCAC foe Purdue University-Calumet (Ind.). Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.