PHILADELPHIA - Backed by a game-high 25 points from Hawk Classic MVP Ciara Andrews, the Saint Joseph's women's basketball team shook off an early deficit to earn a 76-66 victory over Central Michigan in the title game of the 23rd Annual Hawk Classic on Tuesday afternoon at Hagan Arena.
After Monday's offensive surge in a 104-45 victory over UMBC, the Hawks got off to a slow start as the Chippewas ran out to a 14-4 lead. Central Michigan went 5-of-8 from the field and added a pair of free throws over the opening 5:20, while SJU was held to just 2-of-10.
Trailing 21-15 after entering the second quarter, Andrews slowly started to assert herself as she scored seven early points. Behind a 17-11 run to open the quarter, Andrews found Kathleen Fitzpatrick for an open three-pointer to give SJU its first lead, 33-32, with 2:48 to go in the period.
The lead would trade hands three times from there as Central Michigan's Tinara Moore beat the buzzer with a layup to give the visitors a 38-36 edge entering the second half.
Saint Joseph's (6-6) outscored the Chippewas 25-23 in the third quarter to tie the game at 61, then proceeded to score the first seven points of the fourth quarter as a jumper by junior Amanda Fioravanti put the Hawks ahead 68-61 with 5:15 to play.
Central Michigan (6-5) would come within five, 70-65, but Andrews and Fitzpatrick combined to go 6-of-6 from the foul line over the final minutes to seal the victory and give SJU its 10th Hawk Classic title.
For the game, Saint Joseph's shot 38.1 percent from the field (24-of-63), 34.8 percent from three-point range (8-of-23) and hit 20-of-23 free throws (87 percent).
Andrews finished 8-of-13 from the field, 3-of-4 from behind the arc and 6-of-6 from the foul line, and added three assists and a rebound. Fitzpatrick, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, added 20 points to go with three rebounds, an assist and a steal. Fioravanti was the third Hawk in double figures with 14 points, while senior Sarah Fairbanks had a team-high 10 rebounds to go with four points and four assists.
At the other end, Central Michigan shot 34.8 percent overall (24-of-69), 23.1 percent from three-point range (6-of-26) and 63.2 percent from the foul line (12-of-19). Presley Hudson tallied 15 points and DaJourie Turner added 15 and 13 points, respectively and were both named to the All-Tournament Team.
UMBC's Taylor McCarley and Rider's Robin Perkins rounded out the All-Tournament Team.
Saint Joseph's returns to action Sunday as the Hawks host George Washington at 3 p.m. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.