For the St. Catharine College women’s basketball team it was quite a busy weekend. The Patriots played three games in three days. For the record, Lena Bramblett’s squad won one, lost one and one didn’t count at all.
The SCC women started the trifecta weekend Friday at the Olivet Nazarene Classic in Bourbonnais, Ill., where they played Robert Morris University. They won a thriller by one point, 69-68, in that one, before dropping a 99-90 decision Saturday against host Olivet Nazarene. The Patriots then drove seven hours to NCAA Division-I Austin Peay, where they lost an exhibition game on Sunday by an 84-62 count.
“All in all it was a good weekend,” said Bramblett, whose team moved to 6-4 overall. “We beat a team receiving votes (Robert Morris) and made a big comeback against the No. 12 team in NAIA D-II (Olivet Nazarene). We led most of the first half at Austin Peay, but probably got a little tired in the second half.”
The Patriots will soon get a well-deserved rest. After traveling to Cincinnati to play Ohio Midwestern on Thursday they are off until Jan. 3, when they get back into Mid-South Conference action at Cumberland University.
“They will be back on campus Dec. 27 for practice, so that gives them two full weeks off,” added Bramblett.
Alexiss Griffin was 4-8 from three-point range in Friday’s game against Robert Morris. The biggest of those for the junior from Cape Coral, Fla. came with seven seconds left in the game, when she buried a trey from deep in the corner to give the Patriots the 69-68 victory.
Robert Morris (8-3) had one last chance to pull out the win, but missed a five-foot jumper at the buzzer.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise that the game was decided in the final seconds. Neither team led by more than five points in the first half and the score was tied 32-32 as the teams headed to the locker room at intermission.
Robert Morris did open up an eight-point lead midway through the second half, but the Patriots quickly closed the gap and tied the game at 54-54 with 6:56 remaining. St. Catharine could never grab the lead, though, until Griffin’s final shot.
Griffin and Reilly Poirier had big games for the Patriots. Griffin had 21 points and 15 rebounds, while Poirier scored 22 and had 15 rebounds to help the Patriots to a huge 60-41 advantage on the boards.
St. Catharine shot 39 percent for the game, but held Robert Morris to only 31 percent. The Patriots were 6-19 (32 percent) from three-point range and Robert Morris was 5-25 (20 percent) from long range. The Patriots were only 9-20 at the foul line, while Robert Morris made 17-of-24 free-throw attempts.
The host Tigers entered Saturday’s contest with an offensive juggernaut that was averaging 101 points a game in winning eight of their first nine games, and they appeared that they would easily reach triple figures again as they led the Patriots 92-73 with 6:45 left in the game.
But St. Catharine outscored the home team 17-7 down the stretch, as the Tigers didn’t get a field goal over the last 8:45 of the game, but held on for a 99-90 win to improve to their record to 9-1. The Patriots did get the lead down to six points with 45 seconds left on a Poirier layup, but that was as close as they could get.
“We really played hard the last few minutes, but it was a big hole to climb out of,” said Bramblett.
Poirier had 18 points to lead four Patriots in double figures. Sophomore guard Heather Sandlin had 17, while Griffin and Cora Moore scored 16 and 11, respectively. Poirier had 15 rebounds to help the Patriots to a 59-57 advantage on the boards.
St. Catharine shot 40 percent from the field, including 4-20 from three-point range. They made 20-of-29 free throws. The Tigers were 32-90 from the field (36 percent) and made 13-of-57 three-point attempts. They were 22-31 at the foul line.
The Patriots led by as many as 10 points in the first half before the Lady Govs rallied to take a 38-36 halftime lead in Sunday’s exhibition game. Austin Peay (3-6) continued that rally in the second half with a 26-4 run en route to the 84-62 win.
Rianne Hofstraat led the Patriots in scoring with 16 points. Carol Ruiz-Lopez and Machera Calhoun each had 12 points and Griffin added 11.
The Patriots managed only 34 percent shooting from the field, while Austin Peay connected on 47 percent of their field-goal attempts. Austin Peay was 9-15 at the foul line and the Patriots were 9-12.