By: NEIL KING
The women’s basketball team lost Monday, Jan. 20, in what Assistant Coach Mike Potts called a good defensive game and a slugfest against Chicagoland Colligate Athletic Conference rival St. Francis.
St. Francis’ largest lead of the night was a mere eight points and at one time the lady Titans led by nine. The final score was IUSB 69 to St. Francis 75.
IUSB came out defensively sound and started the game by shutting down St. Francis’ pick and roll strategy to take the lead early in the contest while riding the wave of an 11-1 run. Through the entire game the lead only changed twice.
Frequent whistles from the refereeing crew aided the comeback effort of St. Francis. The lady Titans showed their frustration and confusion as the fouls mounted. With 7:30 to go in the first half the lady Titans were in bonus territory with seven fouls and sent the Fighting Saints to the line 11 times.
Head Coach Steve Bruce talked briefly about the fouls.
“We were battling foul trouble all game long,” Bruce said. “Maegan Callaway, who is our leading scorer played only 18 minutes and spent most of the first half on the bench with three fouls, later fouling out with a little over 5:00 to go in the game. However, we are not interested in making excuses. Those were the cards that we were dealt and we came up short in a very competitive game.”
With four minutes to go in the first half the Fighting Saints took the lead from the Titans and never gave it back.
Emily Strilich led the team in scoring with 21 points followed by Callaway with 16. The latter points came despite Callaway considerable time resting on the bench with foul trouble.
Both Potts and Bruce gave credit to both their players and the Fighting Saints.
“I was very pleased with our energy and readiness to compete in our game against St. Francis on Monday evening,” Bruce said. “They were a very solid team, having played an extremely difficult schedule, and their win-loss record was certainly not an indication of the team they are.”
Only two out of the six teams in the South Division have a conference record over .500. The Titans, with a win, had the opportunity to join that group by moving to 4-4.
This loss to St. Francis fell in the center of a three game losing streak for the team, who have lost 7 of their last 10 after starting the season 10-1.
Bruce talked about the toughness of his team during this rough patch and the future of this season.
“Our team understands that during the course of a long basketball season you will travel through peaks and valleys,” he said. “Right now we are mired in a valley. However, our spirits are high and I have no doubt that we will work our way through this and be pursuing our goal to get to the national tourney, come late February.”