Women’s College Basketball: McMahon’s triple-double sparks St. Xavier over Cardinal Stritch
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media February 1, 2014 6:10PM
St. Xavier's Morgan Stuut drives the lane Saturday. | SUPPLIED PHOTO
Updated: March 3, 2014 5:53PM
St. Xavier women’s basketball coach Bob Hallberg wanted this win.
Really wanted it, and he was going to make sure his team was just as energized as he was Saturday as the No. 8 Cougars hosted No. 6 Cardinal Stritch.
“I put my sneakers on, ran into the locker room (pregame) and told them ‘Move over, I’m going into the game,’ ” Hallberg said with a smile. “Just get motivated for what was at stake, a (higher) ranking and first place in conference.”
Brimming with energy out of the gate, St. Xavier raced to an early lead in a dominant first half and made enough plays down the stretch on the way to a 75-63 win over Cardinal Stritch in a Chicagoland Catholic Athletic conference win.
As for the pregame show Hallberg provided? It had St. Xavier (21-3, 11-1) rolling, especially sophomore Caitlin McMahon. The Lincoln-Way East grad had a monster day in the post for the Cougars, finishing with a dominating triple-double, 11 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks.
It was the third triple-double in the program’s history, the other two both coming this season from Morgan Stuut who with her 16 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists came up an assist short of her own Saturday.
The previous program record for blocks in a game was seven.
“I knew I had a lot (of blocks), but I didn’t know I was close or near the school record,” McMahon said. “We came out with a crazy amount of energy. Coach coming into the locker room like that, we carried it throughout the whole game.”
With four different players scoring, St. Xavier sprinted to a 17-6 lead five minutes into the game. The one starter not scoring? The Cougars’ leading scorer, Stuut, averaging 20.8 points.
The star junior proceeded to blow up offensively, scoring 16 of Xavier’s next 26 points on the way to a 43-29 halftime lead.
“This was the most energy I’ve seen us have all year,” Stuut said. “That’s our team, not a fluke. WE were out for blood, especially having lost to them in November.”
St. Xavier saw its lead balloon to 23 points (60-37) and shrink to eight (71-63, 2:03), but Suzie Broski (12 points) drilled two free throws with 1:25 remaining.
Niara Harris (15 points) and Jordan Brandt (8 points) contributed for the Cougars.
Julie Raeder (22 points), Emily Neitzel (17) and Michelle Piepenburg (11) led Cardinal Stritch (20-3, 10-2).