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Sunday, May 26, 2024
The Observer

Holy Cross sweeps St. Ambrose, sets program records

The Holy Cross women’s basketball team played their final home game of the year against Saint Ambrose University on Saturday.

The Saints opened their game with a disastrous four-minute span that saw them trail 9-0 early. After a 30-second timeout, however, the Saints collected themselves and, thanks in part to critical free throws by freshman forward Elizabeth Edmonds, led 18-17 after the first.

The second quarter saw the Fighting Bees reclaim the lead with an 8-3 run. But, the Saints then found their rhythm from behind the arc as they made three consecutive three-point shots and built up an eight-point lead with just a minute remaining in the half.

The Fighting Bees lived up to their name and fought to close the gap as the second quarter expired, forcing turnovers from Holy Cross on consecutive possessions. Despite a shaky start and finish to the first half, the Saints lead 36-35.

After the break, the game was all Holy Cross. Once senior guard Jayda Miller hit a three to put the Saints up six, St. Ambrose failed to get within five for the rest of the game and the Saints built up a double-digit lead for much of the third.

The Saints put on cruise control in the fourth quarter and increased their lead to 20, with the Fighting Bees failing to go on any kind of run. The Saints won their final competition at home and got to claim their 15th win after an 81-62 thrashing of St. Ambrose.

With this win over St. Ambrose, the Saints improve to 15-12 on the year and 10-9 in conference play. The Saints are in seventh place in the CCAC with a 1.5-game lead on the eighth-place Roosevelt Lakers.

The win also assures that the Saints will finish the year with a program all-time winning percentage.

Should the team win their final game, they will finish the year with a 16-12 record, a winning percentage of .571. Should the team lose, they would finish 15-13 (.536).

The previous all-time mark was set in 2018-2019 and 2021-2022 when the program finished 16-16 and 15-15, respectively (.500).

The Saints will look to set a program high in their final game of the season when they play Trinity on the road. The game is scheduled for the 18th, but tip-off has yet to be determined.

The Holy Cross men’s team also made history when they hosted St. Ambrose on Saturday. After a thrilling back-and-forth game that saw the Saints lose a six-point lead with just 14 seconds left, the game needed two overtime periods to decide a winner.

St. Ambrose started overtime in the way they closed out regulation; by hitting a three-point dagger. Saints’ sophomores Justin O’Neal and Nash Hostetler then got the Saints ahead by one.

The two teams tied again at 81 and despite a Saints turnover in the last thirty seconds, the score stayed tied at 81 all, forcing the game to a second overtime.

In the second overtime, freshman Tommy Snyder took over the game for Holy Cross. The forward scored eight consecutive points for the Saints, making two jump shots and four free throws. After Snyder committed his fourth personal foul and was benched, the Saints had amassed an 89-83 lead with a little under two minutes remaining.

Snyder re-entered the game as the Fighting Bees got within four and he hit a three to put the game on ice. Despite the Bees’ best efforts, the Saints controlled the final minute of 2OT and won 99-93.

The win is the first time in program history that the Saints have played in double-overtime. It is also the first time they have won in double overtime.

The Saints’ win improved their overall record to 12-14 (8-11). The Saints currently sit in ninth, just outside the conference playoff, half a game back to eighth place Governors Street. The Saints will resume their season when they play out-of-conference foe East-West University on Feb. 15 at home. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.