Categories
Sports

Saints drop two games, fall to 2-5

Holy Cross Saints women’s basketball played a second straight tough opponent to open up conference play and, subsequently, dropped to 0-2 in CCAC play. The Saints battled defending conference regular season champion, Saint Xavier, and kept it close early. However, the Cougars used a big third quarter to pull away and win 83-64.

Saint Xavier finished 21-1 in CCAC play last season and finished as the tournament runner ups. They entered the contest receiving votes in the national polls, the second straight opponent of such stature for the Saints. The performance was certainly an improvement from Holy Cross’s conference opener, an 85-37 defeat to Indiana University South Bend.

On Saturday, sophomore guard Jordyn Smith led the Saints with 14 points while also chipping in four rebounds and two assists.  The game got off to a low-scoring grind of a start. The Saints didn’t score for the first 4 minutes and 41 seconds, missing their first four shots and turning the ball over three times. However, the Cougars only opened up a 5-0 lead in that slow start, keeping Holy Cross within reach. Over the final 4:20 of the quarter, the Saints allowed just three points and ripped off a 9-0 run, entering the break down just 12-11.

Saint Xavier scored the final three points of the first quarter and then dominated the start of the second, totaling 16-2 run to open up a 25-13 advantage. The Saints got back within four points on a couple of occasions, but they never clawed all the way back. Smith scored the Saints’ final five points to pull within 38-30 at halftime.

Down just eight, the Saints had their eyes on a stunning upset. But Saint Xavier outscored the hosts 25-14 in the third quarter to seize control. Spurts of five, six and eight straight points on different occasions sparked the Cougars during the stretch. Smith’s triple at the end of the period cut the deficit to 19 points at 63-44. 

The result was virtually resolved entering the final ten minutes, and the two squads battled to a fourth-quarter stalemate with 20 points apiece. The Saints never got closer than 17 points. They finished the game shooting 35.2% as a team and were just 2-15 from three-point range.

Four Saints did finish in double digits for scoring, with freshman guard Audrey Tallent matching Smith’s 14 points. Sophomore forward Grace Adams added 13. And junior forward Neva Longhofer chipped in with 11 points. However, it was not enough to counter a scorching 56.1% shooting effort by the Cougars. Saint Xavier’s Alyssa Streeter led all scorers with 22 points on 10-14 shooting.

Saints fall in non-conference battle

Looking to break a two-game skid, the Saints couldn’t quite get on the right side of the result in their non-conference battle with Spring Arbor. Playing at home, the Saints got big efforts from Smith and Adams, who combined for 44 points. Adams added 11 rebounds for the double-double.

However, only one other player had more than seven points, and the top-heavy effort wasn’t enough. While the third quarter ended Holy Cross’s hopes in Saturday’s contest, on Monday evening, it was the second quarter. The Saints led 13-12 after ten minutes, but they shot 20% in the second quarter and were outscored 24-13. 

In the third quarter, the Saints heated up, but they couldn’t seriously close the gap. They got within six at 55-49, but Spring Arbor’s Alana Nelson dropped in four straight to nudge their lead back to ten points. The next time the Saints were that close was after pair of free throws from Adams with 23 seconds to go to make it 77-72 in favor of the visitors.

Spring Arbor closed it out for the 79-72 win, improving to 4-0. Holy Cross fell to 2-5. They’ll look to improve on that mark against Governors State on Wednesday night in a conference game.

Categories
Sports

Saints lose to Titans, fall to 1-3

Following a 79-72 Nov. 4 loss to Goshen College the Saints looked to rebound at home against Indiana University-South Bend. The Saints returned to McKenna Arena looking to return to .500 on the season and capture their first victory since Oct. 31 versus East-West University. The game also represented the inaugural conference matchup for the Saints, with pressure mounting to make a statement as a brutal slate of games begins.

The Saints and Titans both opened up hot, running coordinated and organized offenses that thwarted the opposing defense with ease. The Saints experienced early offensive success, thanks in no part to discipline from the players on the floor. They shot 44.4% from the field and a remarkable 33.3% from three in the first half of play. The Titans mostly matched the elite play of the Saints, however. The competitive and aggressive first half ended with the Saints barely ahead at 32-30.

The second half opened with more disciplined and direct play from the Saints, as they hoped to put IU-SB away and repel the Titans’ fervent defense. Despite some shoddy rotations and with a bit of luck, the Titans were allowed to stay in the game. The Saints’ offense continued to hum about, but was thwarted by a poor shooting performance from the three-point range.

The Saints could only manage a 16.7% mark from the line, allowing an opportunistic and unrelentingly committed Titans team back into the game. Deflated, the Saints allowed a motivated Titans squad to take the lead, grabbing their third win of the season with a score of 72-58.

The Saints shot an efficient 46.2% from the field for the game. But they only sunk four three-pointers and six free throws. The Saints recorded the same amount of rebounds (29) as the Titans. But the Titans overpowered them on defense, posting ten steals to the Saints’ four. Tommy Snyder, a freshman forward from South Bend, had an excellent game for the Saints. Snyder went 8-11 from the field, adding eight rebounds and two assists in 35 minutes of hard-fought play.

The Saints and Coach Mike McBride have now fallen to 1-3 on the season and are 0-1 in conference play. In his 10th season of heading the Saints’ ship, Coach McBride hopes to rebound this Saturday and next Wednesday at home against Saint Xavier University and Governors State University, respectively.

Contact Adam Akan at aakan@nd.edu.

Categories
Sports

Saints battle but fall 72-79 to Goshen

After getting a win against East-West University at home and then a loss on the road against Bethel, the Holy Cross men’s basketball team did something on Friday they would not do for the rest of the season: play a neutral site game.

As a part of the Crossroads/Chicagoland Challenge, the men’s team took on the Goshen Maple Leafs, with the game taking place at the Indiana University South Bend facility.

The game began with Goshen jumping to a 7-1 lead in the first three minutes before freshman forward Tommy Snyder and guard Phil Robles II cut it to 9-5.

As the first half approached the 10-minute mark, Goshen turned an 18-18 tie into a 24-18 lead off of back-to-back three-pointers from Goshen’s Clayton MacLagan. After a foul from senior guard Ryan Cartaino gave Goshen two shots at the line, Goshen led 26-18.

With five minutes left in the first half, senior forward Mick Sullivan was able to give the Saints their first lead of the half, 31-30; though Goshen would quickly take it back, and the game would head to the half 39-33.

When the second half began, the two squads continued to trade scores until senior forward Jalen Martin hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to four. Then Snyder would make it a two-point game, laying the ball in.

Snyder got on a roll, making his next two shots to keep the Saints within one until sophomore guard Nash Hostetler would tie the game at 46.

Ultimately, the game would see five lead changes and eight ties with the Saints. The Saints built a two-point lead with 10:25 left in the second half. After Holy Cross briefly gained the upper hand, Goshen took it back with 9:36 to go and despite a few Saints ties, the Maple Leafs would hold onto the lead for the rest of the game.

The 72-79 loss drops the Saints to 1-2 on the season and snaps a two-game win streak against Goshen. The Saints are now 2-5 when playing the Maple Leafs.

The win provided Goshen head coach Kyle Capps with his first win as the school’s head coach after serving as an assistant coach for the past two seasons.

Turnover troubles:

The teams played an even game, and while Goshen outshot the Saints from range (Goshen made 7 of 24, the Saints just 2 of 10), the Saints were able to outrebound Goshen 40-27.

The difference maker? The Saints had the ball stolen from them eight different times while only making two steals themselves. Factor in the blocks both teams had (4-1), and Goshen was able to win the turnover battle by a margin of 9 (12-3).

Goshen scored 17 points off turnovers. The Saints scored just 10. Those seven points were the difference maker.

The Saints will begin CCAC Conference play when they host IUSB on November 9th at 7:30 p.m. IUSB began the season ranked 19th in the NAIA Coaches preseason poll and currently remain in the top 20.

The Trojans are currently 2-2 on the year, having lost to Bethel by a score of 78-98.

Holy Cross is 11-16 against the Trojans, dating back to 2009. The Saints are currently 0-5 in their last five games, with their last win coming at home in November of 2019.

Contact Tom Zwiller at tzwiller@hcc-nd.edu

Categories
Sports

Saints battle, drop tight game to Pilots

After the Holy Cross women’s basketball team earned their first win against Huntington University, 64-61, the Saints lost 68-99 to Grace College. 

Grace had a much better time moving the ball, and they had 28 assists to Holy Cross’s 13 and scored 25 points on the fast break (Holy Cross only had three). Grace also offensively dominated the Saints in the paint, scoring 64 points down low. 

So, with a blowout loss leaving a sour taste in the Saint’s mouth, the squad turned its attention to its home opener against hometown rival Bethel. Head coach Tom Robbins said that the combination of playing a rival and the blowout loss motivated the team. 

“We did not play the kind of basketball that we wanted to play against Grace, so two days later, it is a chance to redeem yourself. That is the mentality we want our players to have,” he said.

Saints start fast

The Pilots have owned the series in the last five meetings, boasting a four-game winning streak, with the Saints not having won since 2017. Holy Cross got off to a fast start and stayed with the Pilots all game, but they couldn’t quite get over the hump, falling 76-70. 

The Saints came out aggressively in the first quarter, going 10 of 20 from two-point range to take a 20-14 lead over the Pilots at the end of the first quarter. A strong Bethel shooting performance from behind the arc got the Pilots back into the game, but the Saints led 32-31 at the half. 

Robbins said the team was unsatisfied with how they let Bethel play toward the end of the half. 

“We were up ten at one point,” he said. “And we felt like we let them come back in that game to finish out the second quarter. What we wanted to do was reestablish ourselves from what we had done earlier in the game.”

Bethel squeaks by in back-and-forth second half

The Saints reestablished themselves by taking a 48-43 lead with just under two minutes to go in the 3rd quarter. However, Bethel hit some key shots, including a three to tie the game at 48 apiece. Ultimately, it was a one-point game at the break. 

Coming into the fourth quarter Holy Cross took a 53-50 lead thanks to a jump shot from sophomore forward Grace Adams. Unfortunately for the Saints, the Pilots got hot from behind the arc, hitting three unanswered shots from downtown as Bethel went on an 11-point run. 

As the game crossed the five-minute mark, sophomore guard Jordyn Smith got hot, hitting a jump shot and a clutch three to tie the game at 63 with just four minutes to go. Senior guard Jayda Miller was then able to hit another three a minute later to give the Saints a 66-63 lead. 

However, Bethel’s Ellia Foster went on a run of her own and scored the game’s next seven points, and with 33 seconds left, gave the Pilots a four-point lead. 

Though the Saints cut the lead to 71-68, Bethel did just enough to hold onto the win.

Rebounding and 3-point defense woes doom Saints 

The Saints were outrebounded by a margin of 47-28, which allowed the Pilots to score 22 second-chance points. Holy Cross only scored five off of rebounds. 

It is a trend that, if it continues, could prove a significant difficulty for the Saints.

The Saints allowed Bethel to shoot 10 of 17 from deep, including four shots in the fourth quarter. That means the Saints allowed Bethel to shoot 58.8% beyond the arc, canceling out the 27 points that the Saints got off turnovers. Robbins emphasized that the girls have some work to do on guarding the perimeter. 

“I told the girls just because you are standing in front of them does not mean you are guarding them,” he said. “You have to get your hand over the ball. You have to make them take the ball out of their shooting pocket. If they are standing there with the ball in their shooting pocket, they are comfortable, and they have to be uncomfortable.”

The Saints next turn their attention to the Goshen College Maple Leafs when they play again in McKenna Arena, on Nov. 5, at 1 p.m. 

Categories
Sports

Bethel overwhelms Holy Cross with three-point attack

Holy Cross men’s basketball made the crosstown trip to Bethel Wednesday night and promptly ran into an avalanche. The Pilots sunk the Saints 80-55 in Mishawaka behind a staggering 14-for-31 mark from three-point range. With the loss, Holy Cross fell to 1-1 on the young season and is now 1-16 in its last 17 meetings with Bethel.

The Pilots could not have started the game any better, opening on a 20-2 run in the first five minutes. During that time frame, senior guard Drew Lutz buried four three-pointers, and freshman guard Chikara Tanaka connected on two. The Holy Cross deficit stretched as wide as 26 points before the Pilots took a 48-26 lead into halftime. The Saints struggled mightily to keep up with the Bethel onslaught. At the break, Holy Cross had shot just 35.7% from the field with two three-pointers made, while the Pilots had poured in 12 triples at a 53.3 field goal percentage. The Saints’ leading scorer, senior forward Mick Sullivan, contributed seven points in the first half. However, three Pilots totaled seven points or more, with Lutz amassing 23 points in the first 20 minutes.

Bethel cooled off from distance to open the second half, while freshman forward Tommy Snyder made some noise for the Saints. He picked up eight points in the first 4:07 of the period, but the Pilots maintained a healthy lead. The margin eventually ballooned to 79-42, as the Saints failed to score for nearly four minutes midway through the second half. Holy Cross ended the game on a 13-1 run. A buzzer-beating three from freshman guard Drew Adzia ended the game, but it was all for naught. Bethel’s laser-focused offensive buildup was insurmountable, as the Pilots secured a 25-point home victory.

The Pilots’ recipe for success was simple, yet highly effective. They shot the lights out of the basketball. By making 14 trifectas and limiting Holy Cross to three of them, Bethel commanded the action from the start. While the Saints executed passably from the field (38.6 FG%) and equaled the Pilots with 36 rebounds, their 18 turnovers factored into 26 Bethel points. 

For the Saints, Mick Sullivan reeled in 13 points in just 19 minutes, while Tommy Snyder flirted with a double-double (11 points, 9 rebounds). Their two highest scorers still fell short of Bethel’s second-highest scorer alone. Chikara Tanaka and Drew Lutz torched Holy Cross for 25 and 28 points, respectively, nearly outscoring the visitors themselves. The two also combined for nine assists, and Lutz drained eight three-pointers on eleven attempts. Four Pilots hauled down at least five rebounds, backing up the two offensive juggernauts with a consistent, widespread team effort.

The Saints have no time to dwell on the one-sided defeat. They will head to IU-South Bend for the Crossroads-Chicagoland Challenge against the Goshen Maple Leafs. Holy Cross has taken each of the last two in-state matchups with Goshen. That game will be played at 6:00 p.m, immediately followed by Bethel and IU-South Bend at 8:00 p.m.

Categories
Sports

Turnovers plague Saints in loss to Grace

Holy Cross women’s basketball made the 50-mile trip to Winona Lakes, IN Tuesday night for a non-conference battle with Grace College. The Saints edged out Huntington on opening night to start their year with a win. However, this one was a very different story. Grace gave Holy Cross all it could handle, hammering out a 99-68 win for its second consecutive victory with a 30-plus point margin. With the loss, the Saints have now dropped five of their last six meetings with the Lancers.

From the initial tip-off, Grace’s offense was in sync. The Lancers charged out to a 10-3 lead in the game’s first four minutes, as junior center Karlee Feldman collected a quick six points. Holy Cross then closed the gap with the help of sophomore guard Jordyn Smith. She made two three-pointers and scored eight points in the final six minutes of the first quarter. That brought the Saints to a 19-17 deficit at the end of the frame. 

The Lancers opened up a 51-38 halftime lead on the shoulders of a 32-point second quarter. Junior guard Kiersten Findley amassed ten points in a span of less than two minutes, leading a well-balanced Grace attack. Smith tallied eight more points in quarter two, but the Saints were bitten by eight turnovers and a 39.1 field goal percentage. On the other hand, Grace delivered at a 72.2% clip from the field to take control of the game. 

Both offenses mellowed out a bit in the third quarter, as Grace outscored Holy Cross 22-17. The Saints shot 43.2% to Grace’s 40%, but a late seven-point surge from junior guard Jenna Blakley kept the Lancers firmly out in front. Blakley contributed 10 more points in the fourth quarter, which happened to be Grace’s most dominant frame. The Lancers outscored the Saints 26-13 and outshot them 57.9% to 25% from the field, wrapping up an impressive 99-68 victory.

Jordyn Smith shined for the Saints with 24 points, making 9 of 13 field goals and connecting on five three-pointers. However, Smith did not receive much help.

Holy Cross had three other players in double-figures in Saturday’s win, but Smith was the only one Tuesday night. Sophomore guard Kayliana Hammel added five rebounds and a team-high five assists. The Saints lost the turnover battle 24-16, as Grace collected 15 steals. The Lancers outscored Holy Cross 25-3 in fast-break points. Four different players scored at least 15 points for the Lancers, spearheaded by Karlee Feldman’s double-double performance (22 points, 11 rebounds). She shot an impressive 10-for-13 from the field. Jenna Blakley (17 points) and Kiersten Findley (19 points) each shot over 50%.

The Saints will play each of their next six games at home. That stretch begins with a matchup with Bethel on Thursday night. Holy Cross has lost four straight matchups with the Pilots, including a 98-74 defeat a year ago.

Contact Tyler Reidy at treidy3@nd.edu.