CHICAGO — No. 6 nationally-ranked Saint Xavier University and No. 8 nationally-ranked University of St. Francis both put up 90-plus points in easy semifinal-round victories at the 2020 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament on Thursday night. Saint Xavier scored a 91-74 decision over Indiana University South Bend, while St. Francis handled Robert Morris University Illinois 96-75.
That leaves Saturday’s 1 pm championship game matchup between the top two seeds in the tournament. Conference regular-season champion Saint Xavier (29-3) is currently riding an 18-game winning streak and has not been beaten by any conference foe this year having gone 24 straight games without a blemish. St. Francis, meanwhile, has won 19 of its last 21 contests as part of its overall 27-5 mark.
The meeting will be a rematch of the Feb. 19 contest. St. Francis rallied from 15 points down that night only to fall on a Maddie Welter short jumper from the baseline with two seconds to play in the 57-55 Saint Xavier victory.
By virtue of Saint Xavier facing St. Francis (27-5) in the title game, that locks up the third bid to the NAIA National Tournament for regular-season third-place finisher Olivet Nazarene University.
Saint Xavier 91, Indiana South Bend 74 — Leading by nine points at the break, Saint Xavier used a run of 12 straight points midway through the third quarter to pull away to the 17-point victory. SXU’s Chanel Fanter topped all scorers with a season-high 26 points. She also contributed six assists, six rebounds and five blocks. Maddie Welter added another 17 points for the winners. Maddie Gard led the way for Indiana South Bend with 20 markers and six caroms. She was one of four Titans to score in double figures.
St. Francis 96, Robert Morris Illinois 75 — Kaitlin Aylward closed out the home portion of her career with a personal-best 44 points on 14 of-23 shooting from the field and 15-of-16 accuracy at the foul line, not to mention hauling in 11 rebounds. Teammate Jordan Pyle just missed out on matching Aylward’s double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds. Leading by just two points after one quarter, the Saints nearly outscored Robert Morris by a 2:1 difference in the second quarter to go into the break with a 48-33 advantage. Robert Morris, which was led by Ganette Chism’s 16 points, never threatened in the second half.
Tournament results and the rest of the schedule follows:
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Game #1: No. 1 seed Saint Xavier 66, No. 8 seed Governors State 47
Game #2: No. 4 seed Indiana South Bend 89, No. 5 seed St. Ambrose 80 — 2 OT
Game #3: No. 2 seed St. Francis 66, No. 7 seed Trinity International 52
Game #4: No. 6 seed Robert Morris Illinois 85, No. 3 seed Olivet Nazarene 81
Thursday, February 27, 2020 (at site of highest remaining seed)
Game #5: No. 1 seed Saint Xavier 91, No. 4 seed Indiana South Bend 74
Game #6: No. 2 seed St. Francis 96, No. 6 seed Robert Morris Illinois 75
Saturday, February 29, 2020 (at site of highest remaining seed)
Game #7: No. 2 seed St. Francis (27-5) at No. 1 seed Saint Xavier (29-3) — 1 pm