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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
The Observer

Holy Cross women’s basketball knocking off opponents, knocking down wins

Inside the Holy Cross College basketball locker room, on the far-right whiteboard, sits a lone number four, boxed off and written in erasable marker. This solitary four seems somewhat out of place on a whiteboard primarily dedicated to scheming up plays. However, that four is linked to a promise head coach Tom Robbins made at the beginning of the season: to have the best season in program history.

“We started this coming out of Christmas break, with IU Kokomo being the first one. If we win eight of our last thirteen, we will accomplish that goal. We put an eight up on the board, and we said we are going to knock this down every time we get a win".

Before the Saints began counting wins, they soundly beat Cardinal Stritch 91-67. The team then returned home, losing 93-73 to the IUSB (RV) Trojans before bouncing back with back-to-back home wins against IU Kokomo and Judson University. Down went wins eight and seven.

The team then hit the road, losing to Saint Xavier University 73-84 despite a 43-26 deficit going into halftime. Though the girls lost to Xavier, they rallied during their last two home games of the break, beating Trinity Christian College 72-44 and then Cardinal Stritch again, 70-55. Thanks to their back-to-back home wins, the Saints are now 11-9 overall, with a 6-6 record in CCAC play. Six and five are in the books. Now, onto the next four.

According to Robbins, the key to the Saints’ turnaround was a return to the defensive fundamentals.

“We have been scoring enough points, even previously, to win games,” Robbins said. “But we have given up too many points. So, we put a lot of time into our defense and really improved our defense. We really put a lot of focus on that, and then we started seeing it in games, and when we saw it in games, we started getting wins.”

The work speaks for itself; in the Saints’ last three wins, they have allowed, on average, just under 47 points while scoring almost 73 themselves. And while the defensive turnaround has been a team effort, Robbins thought of two players who helped lead the charge.

“[Junior guard] Lauren Morris comes to mind; she has become just a tremendous on-ball defender. Another one that comes to mind-she has always been one of our best defenders-is [sophomore forward] Grace Adams. But I noticed that over break that she started communicating with the rest of the team about the importance of what we were doing,” Robbins.

The Saints currently sit in seventh in the conference standings, just four and a half games behind first-place IUSB. The Saints are 1.5 games ahead of Trinity Christian and Roosevelt, who are tied for seventh/eighth. If the season ended today, the Saints would play Indiana Northwest.

The Saints have limited time in their schedule to achieve their goal of fifteen wins. With just eight games remaining in the schedule — including games against some of the conference’s best — they will need to make every opportunity count.

The girls will look to keep knocking down numbers when they face Calumet College of St. Joseph on the road Wednesday. Tipoff is currently scheduled for 6 p.m. EST.

Contact Tom Zwiller at tzwiller@hcc-nd-edu.