Women’s College Basketball: St. Francis rallies to knock off St. Xavier
TIM TIERNEY For Sun-Times Media December 16, 2012 9:16PM
St. Xavier's Jordan Brandt (12) dribbles around a St. Francis defender. | Allen Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 18, 2013 6:13AM
It wasn’t surprising that the celebratory voices coming from the St. Francis locker room could be heard down the hallway of the Shannon Center at St. Xavier.
St. Francis had overcome an 11-point second-half deficit against the 12th-ranked team in NAIA Division II to earn a 74-68 victory Sunday on the road. The Fighting Saints definitely had plenty to celebrate.
“I think it’s a big thing and it’s about what we can do in the future,’’ forward Katie Gonnering said. “In the beginning of the season we can say we have a lot of potential. Now that we get a good win, I think it’s great things for us.’’
Gonnering scored 19 of her game-high 27 points in the second half, made 13-of-14 free throws for the game and grabbed seven rebounds, including a couple after St. Xavier misses in the final minutes.
“It’s always on my mind that I need to play my best, but my teammates have just as much to do with the win,’’ said Gonnering, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder this season. “I don’t score unless I get a pass from my teammates.’’
Those teammates also crashed the boards with Gonnering. Marissa Draper and Ashley Teresiak each had eight rebounds to help the Fighting Saints (5-6, 5-3 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference) outrebound St. Xavier 22-11 in the second half, holding the Cougars to 28 points after halftime.
“We got a lot of defensive stops and on offense we were able to make really good passes,’’ Gonnering said. “As a team we just had great chemistry the second half.’’
“We just got outplayed,’’ St. Xavier coach Bob Hallberg said. “They did a better job of executing, they did a much better job on the boards than us.’’
St. Xavier (7-3, 7-3) led 43-32 early in the second half after a three-pointer by Morgan Stuut, but the Fighting Saints slowly climbed back.
A three-point play by Gonnering put St. Francis ahead 61-57 with 6 minutes, 34 seconds to play, and St. Xavier wouldn’t get closer than three points.
“There were a couple times I probably should have called a timeout, but I just wanted us to push through it,’’ St. Francis coach Samantha Quigley said of the second-half rally. “St. Xavier’s two-three pressure bothers people a lot. We did a lot of work and really focused on attacking it.’’
Stuut led St. Xavier with 18 points, but fouled out with 6:34 to play. Jordan Brandt and Suzie Broski each had 12 points and Chrissy Heine 10.
“Stuut’s a 40-minute player for us,’’ Hallberg said. “We certainly need her coming down the stretch.’’
Also scoring in double figures for St. Francis were freshman Khadija Cooley (Joliet West) with 15 points and Draper with 13.
“If we play this way every night, I’ll be happy if we win or lose,’’ Quigley said.