PHILADELPHIA – Using a 21-2 run to end the first half, the Saint Joseph's women's basketball team showed little rust off a nine-day layoff as the Hawks topped Saint Francis (Pa.), 83-53, Monday evening at Hagan Arena. Senior guard Katie Kuester (Media, Pa./Academy of Notre Dame de Namur) led four Hawks in double figures with a season-high 16 points.
Saint Joseph's (6-4) took control off the tip, running out to a 14-1 edge less than four minutes in. The Hawks hit their first four shots as knocked down 17-of-32 from the floor (53.1 percent) in the first stanza.
Down 27-12, Saint Francis (4-5) used a 7-0 run over a two-minute span to make it a 27-19 game on a jumper by Alexa Hayward at 5:55.
From there though, the Hawks took full control as they outscored the Red Flash 21-2 to end the half and take a 48-21 lead into halftime. Saint Joseph's hit 6-of-10 from the floor during the stretch, including a combined four three pointers from Kuester and sophomore guard Erin Shield (Drexel Hill, Pa./Archbishop Carroll), while Saint Francis hit just 1of-10 and turned the ball over four times in the final minutes of the half.
Trailing by 27, the Red Flash continued to fight though in the second, making it a 60-45 game with under seven minutes to play.
But the Hawks responded, outscoring Saint Francis 23-8 to end the game and improve to 4-0 at home this year.
For the game, SJU shot 45 percent from the field (27-of-60), hit 8-of-15 from three-point range (53.3 percent) and shot 21-of-32 from the foul line (65.6 percent). Senior center Samira van Grinsven (Helmond, Netherland/Casper College) added 14 points and eight rebounds, while classmate Michelle Baker (Wilmington, Del/Brandywine) finished with 13 points and five assists. Shields was the fourth Hawk in double figures with 13 points, while senior Kelly Cavallo (Hampton Bays, N.Y./Westhampton Beach) added a team-best 11 rebounds.
At the other end, Saint Francis shot just 29.7 percent from the floor (19-of-64), 1-of-12 from three-point range (8.7 percent) and hit 14-of-25 from the foul line (56 percent). Nickia Gibbs led all Red Flash players with a game-high 20 points.
The Hawks return to action this Thursday, December 22, when they host UCLA at 1 p.m.