#16 Women's Hoops Season Ends with NAIA Tourney Loss to #1 Saint Francis

#16 Women's Hoops Season Ends with NAIA Tourney Loss to #1 Saint Francis

SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- The 16th-ranked Siena Heights women's basketball team struggled from the field as it dropped an 83-59 decision to No. 1 Saint Francis (Ind.) in an NAIA Tournament second round game on Friday at the Tyson Events Center.

Grace Howrigon finished with 20 points, six rebounds and five assists while Alexxis Knannlein had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. Najee Brazzle added 10 points for the Saints (26-9).

As a team, the Saints struggled on offense, shooting 24 of 71 from the field (33.8 percent), including 3 of 21 from 3-point territory (14.3 percent). SHU also experienced troubles at the free-throw line, going 8 of 17 (47.1 percent).

SHU and Saint Francis traded first-half runs before the Cougars (35-0) broke the game open early in the second.

Early in the first, USF scored eight straight points before Siena Heights responded with seven, leaving Saint Francis with a 13-11 advantage. Knannlein had six of the Saints' seven points during that stretch.

The Cougars took the lead for good, snapping a 17-all tie with 10 consecutive points, including six from Skylarr Shurn. Howrigon nailed a 3-pointer, triggering a seven-point streak for the Saints as SHU pulled within 27-24 with 4:41 left in the first.

Saint Francis eventually took a 40-28 advantage into intermission before opening the second half with a 12-0 outburst. After that, Siena Heights pulled within 18 points on three separate occasions, but could not close the deficit any further.

Shurn was the Cougars' leading scorer, finishing with 27 points. Brooke Ridley had a double-double work 21 points and 14 rebounds, Jennelle Wilson scored 16 points, and Kalah Baer grabbed eight boards. Saint Francis feasted at the free-throw line, making 30 of 43 attempts (69.8 percent).

With the loss, the Saints' season comes to an end. SHU recorded the second-highest win total in program history.