On Thursday night, Jan. 12, Olivet’s Women’s Basketball team fell to their conference rival and top ranked University of Saint Francis Fighting Saints.
The game was close for much of the first quarter. The Lady tigers went on a late run in the quarter to a 27-26 lead. The second quarter flipped, as Saint Francis would win the period and take a 47-46 halftime lead. However, things started going downhill for the Tigers as they were outscored by 15 points in the third. They found themselves down 80-64 going into the fourth quarter. The lead stayed around 15 points for most of the fourth quarter; although ONU improved from their performance in the previous quarter, it was not enough as they lost 109-91. This moves the Lady Tiger’s record to 13-6 on the season, and 7-3 in conference play; Saint Francis remains unbeaten with a 17-0 record overall and 10-0 in conference.
“We played a really good first half,” says graduate assistant Aaron Larson,” but in the second half they made adjustments, came out and played like the #1 team in the nation. They started to be able to dribble up the middle of the floor on our press. I think they shot the ball a lot better in the third, and we couldn’t fluster them well in that quarter.”
Saint Francis kept ONU nearly 20 points below their season average of 110.3 points per game. On the offensive end Saint Francis scored about 15 points more than Tigers’ average points allowed per game of 93.2. Much of this can be attributed to Saint Francis converting on 9 of their 17 three-point attempts, and their 32 total assists for the game. In addition, they made 13 of their 15 free throws. The teams tied for total number of rebounds with 35 each, though Olivet grabbed 17 offensive boards to Saint Francis’ 11.
“We feel about our next matchup with them on February 15, that’s the second to last game of the regular season,” says Larson. “We feel good from what we saw in the first half. We can compete with anyone in the country when we play our style. If we come out with the same intensity, we feel very comfortable about where we’re at and when you’re going.”
On the bright side for the Tigers, they made 12 of their 33 three point attempts, 5% above their season average of 30.2%. They forced 29 turnovers, which made Saint Francis’ assists-to-turnover ratio 1.103, well below their season average of 1.45. There was a slight disparity in fouls called, the Lady Tigers being called for 21 total fouls while Saint Francis had 16.
— Sam Nichols, Sports Editor