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Saint Francis women win

The top-ranked Saint Francis women beat host Indiana Tech 75-62 in the SportONE Classic on Monday. Video by Greg Jones, The Journal Gazette.

Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Indiana Tech’s Sabine Filippovica slides into Saint Francis’ Brooke Ridley as Ridley takes a short jump shot early in the second half.

Cougars struggle, overtake Warriors

Defense steps up to offset cold shooting

The way things were going for top-ranked Saint Francis, any shot that went through the basket was a good-looking shot.

Just as the NAIA Division II No. 1 Cougars were breaking out of their gamelong funk, Jessica Harrison gave it that final push as her pass attempt into the post resulted in a three-pointer in a 75-62 win over host Indiana Tech on Monday in the SportONE Classic.

“We might put that lob play in (regularly),” Saint Francis coach Gary Andrews said, jokingly. “Nobody thinks she’s shooting. That’s just luck, but we will take it. Sometimes you have to have a little luck.”

Saint Francis (14-0) struggled with its shooting most of the game but made the shots when it needed to break away from Indiana Tech (10-5), a team the Cougars beat 97-60 at home Nov. 2.

“We knew they were going to come hard at us,” Saint Francis’ Brooke Ridley said. “We beat them by a lot last time, but that doesn’t mean anything coming into the second time.”

Saint Francis made 29 of 64 shots (45 percent) from the field and managed to increase its free-throw percentage to 59 percent, 13 of 22, after making just 3 of 11 (27 percent) from the stripe in the first half.

The Warriors held a 45-44 advantage before Paige Frisch provided a spark as the Cougars regained the lead and took it to double figures as Harrison’s pass attempt went through the hoop for a 61-51 stranglehold that never slipped away again.

“We got some defensive stops and started hitting some layups,” Andrews said. “We missed so many easy shots in the first half. We scored 29 points in the first half, and we didn’t play very well. Everybody got their confidence, and we started playing like we normally play (in the second half).”

The Cougars came into the game averaging 89 points per game.

“We are just trying to get our players to commit to playing defense,” Indiana Tech coach Jessie Biggs said. “(The Cougars) are a great scoring team, and you don’t know who to stop for Saint Francis. So over the Christmas break, we really focused on (that), and we are making strides.”

Akyah Taylor scored 20 points in the second half to finish with 23, Ridley had 18 points and 14 rebounds, Skylarr Shurn had 14 points and Frisch finished with 10 points before fouling out.

The two teams were tied at 29 at halftime and were still going back and forth in the second half before a 17-6 run was capped by Harrison’s heave as the Cougars won the second half, 46-33.

Indiana Tech got 17 points from Chelsea Carradine, 13 from Sabine Filippovica and 12 from Rachael Kruse.