Women's Basketball - Wed, Dec. 29, 2004
CHICAGO - Senior guard Sara Zembrzuski (Lockport, Ill./Lockport) was a perfect 9-for-9 from the field and scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Saint Xavier University women's basketball team to an impressive 72-46 win over Aquinas College (Mich.) in the championship game of the SXU Christmas Tipoff Tournament Wednesday at the Shannon Center in Chicago. Following the game, Zembrzuski was named tournament MVP, while senior forward Rachel Merkell (Munster, Ind./Munster) and junior forward Jacki DiMaggio (Bartlett, Ill./Glenbard North) were named to the2004 All-Tournament Team.

Saint Xavier (6-9) came out on fire and shot an impressive 63 percent (17-for-27) in the first half to build a 40-26 halftime advantage. In the second half, the Cougar defense limited Aquinas to just 20 points, which helped extend the SXU lead. In addition to Zembrzuski's stellar performance, two other Cougars had solid nights in the championship game. DiMaggio scored 14 points for SXU on 7-for-11 shooting from the field. In addition, freshman guard Tara Breshock (Lansing, Ill./TF-South) came off the bench to chip in 13 points and four rebounds. Merkell finished with a team-high seven boards for SXU. Aquinas was led by sophomore forward Jackie Braspenninx with 11 points, while freshman center Alicia McCarthy chipped in 10.

In Wednesday's seventh place game, University of St. Francis (Ill.) outlasted Calumet College of St. Joseph (Ind.) to win 74-62. USF (3-12) was led by senior guard Andrea Swiler, who finished with a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds. Calumet College of St. Joseph was led by senior guard Dana Jefferies with 14 points and a team-high four assists. St. Francis committed only seven turnovers in the entire game to help get the victory.

In the fifth place game, Siena Heights (Mich.) was able to hold on to the lead in the final minute to defeat St. Ambrose (Iowa), 83-79, Wednesday. Siena Heights (7-6) had five players score in double figures led by sophomore forward Holly Meier with 14 points. St. Ambrose (10-8) was paced by sophomore forward Jennifer Goetz, who finished with game-highs of 29 points and 20 rebounds, respectively. St. Ambrose shot only 11 percent (1-for-9) from three-point range in the game.

Wednesday's third-place game saw Huntington College (Mich.) beat St. Mary's (Ind.) College, 66-62, behind 15 points for Huntington junior forward Betsey Bean. Four other Foresters scored in double figures as Huntington (6-9) shot 45 percent (9-for-20) from the field in the second half to seal the victory. St. Mary's (6-6) was led by senior forward Emily Creachbaum, who finished with 16 points. The Belles also got a nice game from sophomore guard Bridget Lipke with 14 points and a team-high 13 rebounds.

The 2004 Saint Xavier University Christmas Tipoff All-Tournament Team included: Calumet College of St. Joseph's Dana Jefferies, University of St. Francis' Amberley Callahan, St. Ambrose's Jennifer Goetz, Siena Heights' Nicole Coffey, St. Mary's Emily Creachbaum, Huntington's Betsey Bean, Aquinas' Ashley Heuvelman and Jackie Braspenninx, and Saint Xavier's Jacki DiMaggio, Rachel Merkell and tournament MVP Sara Zembrzuski.