College Basketball: St. Francis women, men enjoy banner night
By Dick Goss firstname.lastname@example.org February 18, 2013 10:16PM
St. Francis' Mark Peters is called for a foul as he trips over Purdue North Central's Cwon Terrell. | John Patsch~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 20, 2013 6:32AM
University of St. Francis sophomore forward Katie Gonnering hit the grand slam of basketball Monday evening.
Then she watched and cheered as the Saints’ men’s team electrified the fans at the Patrick J. Sullivan Recreation Center.
The opponents in the opening round of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament were not the strongest they will see but the No. 6 seed USF women advanced with a 71-56 win over Judson and the fourth-seeded men followed with a 109-64 thrashing of Purdue North Central.
Gonnering’s day began with the pleasant surprise she had been named a first-team NAIA All-American. When she scored on a layup with 1:02 remaining, she hit the 1,000-point mark for her still young career. Besides scoring 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting to lead the Saints (14-16) into Wednesday’s game at Cardinal Stritch, she also swished her second three-pointer of the season in the early going.
“The win is what is most important,” Gonnering said. “We played with a lot of excitement early. We gave it all we’ve got.”
“We talked at practice (Sunday) how that could be our last practice,” said Saints coach Samantha Quigley, whose team led 46-24 at the half and was not seriously threatened. “It helps a lot when you come out at the beginning of games with energy.”
And when you can get the ball to Gonnering down low.
“Katie is an awesome worker on and off the floor,” Quigley said. “Whatever she has, she takes advantage of it, and our guards do a great job getting her the ball.”
Alexis Brown scored 13 points and Debra Jenkins 12 for USF, which forced 17 first-half turnovers and attempted 34 shots in the half to 15 for Judson (9-22).
“It’s going to be hard to win at their place,” Quigley said, looking ahead to Wednesday’s trip to Cardinal Stritch. “They’ve beaten us twice in close games. Hopefully, we will be able to take some energy from this win.”
The USF men (14-16) are thinking the same as they prepare to host Olivet Nazarene at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The 109 points are rare enough, but the Saints also had all 15 players score, led by the veteran guard trio of Andrew Lerg, Chris Miller and Billy Hubly, all with 16 points.
“We shot really well,” Saints coach John Baines said. “Any time you make 13 threes, that’s a good night. It was nice to get some of the guys in tonight who had not been playing as much in tight games toward the end of the season.
“Olivet will be a tough one, though. I would be surprised if that’s not a real close game.”
“This one was a lot of fun,” said Hubly, who scored all his points while St. Francis grabbed a 55-31 halftime lead over Purdue North Central (6-25). “We want to stretch the season out. Our ultimate goal is the national championship, and this means we’re a step closer.”