Joe Gorby, Sports Information Director
JOLIET – The University of St. Francis women’s basketball team demonstrated once again the importance of getting out to an early advantage as the nationally 16th-ranked Saints claimed a 24-point halftime lead and went on to post a 67-43 non-conference victory over visiting Indiana Northwest Tuesday evening at USF’s Sullivan Center.
The Saints, who now stand at 5-1 overall and have won three straight outings to date, jumped out to a decisive 23-6 lead after the first quarter and then outscored the RedHawks 17-10 in the second quarter to take a 40-16 halftime advantage.
The second half of the contest, which consisted of only two lead changes the entire game, saw Indiana Northwest trim its deficit to 18 points (51-33) at the close of the third quarter. A 6-2 RedHawks’ run to start the fourth cut USF’s lead down to 14 points (53-39) with 7:24 remaining. Following an exchange of baskets, IUNW managed to get within 14 points again at 56-42 with 4:47 left to be played before the Saints proceeded to outscore the RedHawks 11-1 in three-minute span to go up 67-43 with 1:47 left on the scoreboard clock. Neither team was able to score for the duration of the contest.
Guard-forward Justene Charlesworth (JR/Wanatah, Ind.) paced four USF players in double-figure scoring with 18 points, which included 15 in the first half. Forward Shadrian McDaniel (JR/Chicago, Ill.) tossed in 15 points, guard Leah Sims(SR/Chicago, Ill.) tallied 14, and forward Andriana Acosta (SR/Crest Hill, Ill.) produced her second consecutive double-double with 10 points and rebounds (five offensive) apiece. The Saints claimed a 37-30 rebounds advantage with Shadrian McDaniel grabbing six boards and guard-forward Josie Graffeo (SO/Manteno, Ill.) pulled down five caroms.
USF shot 40.7% (24-59) from the floor and knocked down 10-of-25 (40%) tries from beyond the three-point arc. The Saints went nine-of-15 (60%) in free throws and were forced into committing 13 turnovers.
Indiana Northwest, which falls to 1-4 overall this season with the loss, had only one individual net double-digit points as Sarah Martin’s 11 points was tops for the visitors. IUNW turned the ball over 18 times and made only two-of-17 (11.8%) three-point field goal tries. The RedHawks, who like USF are Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) members, shot 37.8 percent (17-45) from the field and sank seven-of-13 (53.8%) attempts at the free throw stripe.
The Saints outscored IUNW 24-14 in the paint area and 12-7 in second-chance points while both teams generated 17 points each off turnovers.
USF compiled 11 steals with Andriana Acosta’s three leading all players. Leah Sims, Justene Charlesworth, and forward Jordan Pyle (JR/Traralgon, Australia) all garnered two thefts apiece.
The Saints will make their first road appearance of the 2020-21 season on Saturday, Dec. 5, versus CCAC member the Cardinal Stritch Wolves in a non-conference encounter. Opening tipoff is slated for 1 p.m. (CT) at the CSU Field House in Milwaukee, Wis.