Joe Gorby, Sports Information Director
ELGIN, Ill. – With the 2021 New Year only two days away, University of St. Francis’ Andriana Acosta (SR/Crest Hill, Ill.)celebrated a little early as her game-high tying 20 points and game-best 21 rebounds performance propelled the nationally 12th-ranked Saints to their seven win in a row with a dominating 79-44 non-league victory over Olivet Nazarene this Wednesday afternoon in a Judson Christmas Classic matchup at JU’s Linder Fitness Center.
The win upped USF’s overall season record to 9-1 overall as the Saints wrapped up action in the 2020 calendar year. Olivet Nazarene falls to 1-1 on the season as a result of the setback.
Acosta, who has presently accumulated three double-doubles to go with five double-figure scoring outings this season, split game-high scoring honors with fellow forward Shadrian McDaniel (JR/Chicago, Ill.), who also tossed in 20 points. Acosta’s 21 rebounds, which included 15 on the offensive glass, was just three shy of tying USF’s single-game rebounding record of 24 boards set by Katie Gonnering in the 2013-14 season (11/26/13) versus Olivet Nazarene.
Joining Acosta and McDaniel in the double-digit scoring column was guard-foward Justene Charlesworth (JR/Wanatah, Ind.), who contributed 10 points off the bench. Guard Leah Sims (SR/Chicago, Ill.) added eight points as 10 Saints tallied at least a point in the win.
The Saints dominated play on the hardwood for the opening three quarters, outscoring the Tigers by a combined 65-22 points margin. USF started the game on an 8-0 scoring run en route to claiming a 22-7 lead after first quarter. The Saints continued their productivity on both ends of the floor in the second quarter, shooting 52.6 percent (10-19) from the floor and limiting ONU to just 15.4 percent (2-13) shooting efficiency to go into the locker room at halftime with a decisive 45-13 advantage.
USF continued to ride its momentum in the second half as the Saints outpointed the Tigers 20-9 in the third quarter, which was highlighted by a 9-2 scoring spurt in the final 3:31 of the quarter. The Saints managed to record a 42-points lead on three occasions in the fourth quarter and ONU managed to only get within a 33-points deficit at 77-44 with just a minute left to be played.
The Saints, who claimed a 50-34 rebounds advantage, shot 43.1 percent (31-72) from the field, 27.3 percent (6-22) in three-pointers, and 84.6 percent (11-13) at the free throw stripe. ONU, which was outscored 50-16 in the paint area, concluded the game shooting 26.9 percent (14-52) from the floor, 21.7 percent (5-23) from the three-point line, and made 11-of-16 free throws for 68.8 percent.
Olivet Nazarene was paced by Caroline Boehne’s nine points off the bench and Maggie Cora supplied seven points.
USF’s defense forced the Tigers into 27 turnovers and the Saints capitalized by generating a 26-6 points advantage over ONU in points off miscues.
The Saints open the 2021 New Year and Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) play this Saturday (Jan. 2) hosting conference newcomer the Lincoln College Lynx in Joliet, Ill. Opening tip off for the game is a 1 p.m. (CT) inside USF’s Sullivan Center.