Holy Cross women’s basketball rallies to beat Governors State

Wednesday night, the Holy Cross women’s basketball team came into their game against Governors State looking to end both a three-game losing streak and a two-game conference losing streak. Courtesy of a late rally, the Saints managed to pull off the feat, winning 65-57.

In the 10 previous meetings, the two teams have split the series, with the Saints winning three of the last five.

The game began with Governors State winning the opening tip and making a jump shot on their first possession. A Holy Cross turnover allowed Governors State to open up a quick 4-0 lead.

The Saints rallied, with freshman Carly Spradling, forcing a block and rebounding, which turned into points at the other end.

The Saints scored 10 straight and jumped out to a 10-4 lead. After the two teams traded baskets, Saints led at the end of the quarter, 13-8

Governors State opened the second quarter making consecutive three-pointers, thanks to their offensive rebounding allowing them second chance opportunities. Freshman guard Audrey Tallent sank a jump shot, putting the Saints back up, 15-14 with 7:37 left in the second.

Governors State rallied to retake the lead. However, sophomore guard Anna Tallent’s three-ball knotted the score once more.

The two teams traded baskets, but Governor State scored three points in the last 14 seconds putting the Saints down 29-26 at the half.

To start the third quarter, the Jaguars built up a seven-point lead. Saints sophomore forward Grace Adams put forth a big individual effort to close the deficit. First, she cut the lead to five with a trip to the foul line. Then, Adams made a steal that turned into Holy Cross points the other way. The sophomore punctuated the run with a jump shot to bring the Saints within one.

The Jaguars responded with a 13-4 run, taking a 48-38 lead with 50 seconds left in the third. Clutch three-point shots from senior guard Jayda Miller and junior Neva Longhofer made it a 50-44 game heading into the fourth quarter.

Trailing by six with 7:33 left in the fourth quarter, two poor Jaguar fouls allowed sophmore Jordyn Smith and Spalding to get the Saints within two.

A Miller jump shot tied the game and forced the visitors to call a timeout. The timeout did little to help, however, as the Jaguars fizzled out down the stretch. Governors State scored just five points in the last five minutes. The Saints, meanwhile, scored 13 to win 65-57.

The win broke the Saints’ three-game losing streak and provided them with their first conference win. The win propelled the Saints from the conference basement and into eighth, where they trail Judson by half a game. The Saints are now two games behind first-place Saint Francis.

By beating Governors State, the Saints have closed their first home stand 2-4 (1-2). The Saints now head on the road for three games, including two conference clashes. The Saints return to McKenna Arena on Dec. 6, when they face the Saint Mary’s Belles at 6 p.m.

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Saints stomp Maple Leaves

The Holy Cross women’s basketball team dominated Goshen College on Saturday afternoon at home in McKenna Arena.

Senior guard Jayda Miller’s 33 points steered the Saints past the Maple Leaves 84-48.

Holy Cross scored first, getting on the board with a corner three from junior guard Lauren Morris less than a minute into the game.

Goshen countered quickly with a long two, but a rebound by sophomore forward Grace Adams led to a Miller three-pointer, giving the Saints a 6-2 advantage.

Three more Holy Cross buckets, including a layup and another three-pointer from Miller, drove the Saints ahead of the Maple Leaves 13-2 after four minutes of play, forcing Goshen to call a timeout.

The Maple Leaves knocked down a layup shortly after the break but were unable to change the narrative for the rest of the period.

The Saints, traversing speedily down the court in transition, jumping on loose balls and shooting clean from the three-point and free-throw lines, came away from the first quarter with an imposing 28-11 lead.

During the second quarter, the Saints continued to win the battle in the paint on both sides of the court. Sloppy play midway through the quarter generated quite a few more fouls against the Saints, but Maple Leaves failed to work this to their benefit.

The score at halftime stood at 44-28, and Holy Cross hustled off the court, anxious to complete the groundwork they had laid over the first 20 minutes of play.

Less than a minute into the third quarter, Morris picked up her fourth foul and was sat. Three more layups from Miller, amidst a good of deal possession squabbling and a Goshen bucket then hushed away any Maple Leaf momentum that could have come from the 15-minute break.

The Goshen press proved ineffective against Holy Cross, and the Saints built their lead, finishing ahead 60-39 at the end of the three quarters.

Holy Cross came out in the fourth quarter as hot as they’d been all game.

The Saints picked up four layups less than three minutes into the fourth, three by Adams and one by sophomore guard Jordyn Smith, before the Maple Leaves had the chance to put up any fourth quarter points.

The ample Goshen roster remained loud on the bench to the bitter end, but the Saints were the ones dribbling it out on their way to an 84-48 victory.

In the final period of play, Holy Cross tacked on 15 points to their third quarter lead, finishing as 36-point winners.

On top of Miller’s 33 points, Adams came away with 13 rebounds, six on offense, and Smith eked out six steals of her own.

Head coach Tom Robbins attributed the Saints’ firm performance to the squad’s preparation following a frustrating loss against Bethel on Thursday.

“We had a bad loss a couple of days ago and the players really took ownership amongst themselves and set some goals and really brought themselves together to prepare for this game,” Robbins said.

Robbins was impressed by his players ability to finish out the game, having played hard from start to finish.

“We had a lot of tired girls at the end of that game,” he said. “But we have enough. We were strong enough and in good enough shape to finish this game.”

Robbins credited Miller’s dominant offensive showing to the team’s young supporting talent. Unlike in previous years, the senior has not been forced to take so many shots.

“[Miller] has really developed some more shot selection that’s not always been the case,” he said. “I thought it really came through today, because she got really hot, and it would be a temptation for her to just keep shooting no matter what, but she kept within her lane.”

The defensive leadership from Adams and Smith stood out to Robbins as well.

“I felt like Grace and Jordyn Smith took the team on their back in a lot of different ways,” Robbins added. “Beyond just scoring … I thought those two players, they showed that everybody else this is how you win, this is what winning basketball looks like. Follow us.”

Saturday afternoon’s victory lifts Holy Cross to 2-2 on the season. The Saints will match-up against Indiana University South Bend (IUSB) Wednesday back on their home court.

“We’ve kind of had been developing a rivalry with [IUSB],” Robbins said. “They’re one of the best teams in our conference and one of the best teams in the region.”

As it stands, the rivalry is a little one sided — the Holy Cross woman have yet to beat the Titans.

“We look at them and I’m not sure they’re looking at us yet,” Robbins said. “We want that to be the case. We want to get them to a position where they’re starting to look at us as a threat.”

This early-season, statement win for the Saints is as if to say: we’re ready to compete locally and in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference at large.

The Saints are back home in South Bend to compete against the Titans on Wednesday. Tip-off is at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

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