JOLIET – Even on its off nights, the University of St. Francis women’s basketball team still prevails. Such was the case Monday night at the Sullivan Center, where the NAIA No. 13-ranked Saints shot a season-low 29.1 percent from the field, yet still came away with a 51-40 victory over Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe St. Ambrose University (Iowa).
Andriana Acosta (SR/Crest Hill, Ill.) was the only Saint to shoot at least 50 percent on the night and that led to a game-high 18 points. She also used ten rebounds, including seven on the offensive end, to net her fifth double-double of the season.
USF (17-2, 5-0 CCAC) continued its run of getting out to a fast start, building an 18-10 lead after the first quarter and maintained that eight-point advantage at the break (25-17). In the second half, St. Ambrose (7-4, 3-2) had quick bursts to open each quarter with the first four points each time to pull to within 25-21 in the third quarter and 38-33 to begin the fourth.
St. Francis used a 9-1 run after St. Ambrose’s fourth-quarter surge to build its biggest lead of the night (47-34) and seal its sixth straight win and seventh in a row at home.
Despite its low shooting marks on the night, including a .588 reading at the free throw line (10-of-17), one Saint seemed to come through in each quarter with the exception of the second where both teams managed just seven points each. USF rode the hot hand of Leah Sims (SR/Chicago, Ill.) out of the gate. She delivered three of her four treys on the night in the first quarter and recorded all 12 of her points before halftime.
A similar story resulted in the third quarter where Justene Charlesworth (JR/Wanatah, Ind.) started to heat up, nailing all four of her three-pointers and accounting for all 12 of her points, not to mention all but one of the team’s 13 markers in the quarter.
Acosta then stepped up in the final stanza, where she provided nine of the team’s 13 points. Her other big quarter was the first, where she totaled six points.
Jaynee Prestegaard, who battled foul trouble for much of the night, was the only Bee player to score in double figures. She registered 10 points and seven rebounds. Her sister Madeline was nearly flip-flopped on her totals with seven points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
The four-game homestand continues on Wednesday with another CCAC date, this time with Governors State University. Opening tip is set for 5 pm at the Sullivan Center.