With the St. Ambrose University defense locked in from the start, it was just a matter of waiting for the offense to click. And when that happened, the Queen Bees rolled to a 77-55 Midwest Collegiate Conference victory over Viterbo on Wednesday night at Lee Lohman Arena.|
SAU coach Krista Van Hauen saw plenty to like out of her recently No. 19 nationally ranked club in the rout. All 13 players to see the court scored. On those 30 Queen Bees baskets, 18 came off of assists. The winners shot 52.6 percent (30 of 57) for the game and out-rebounded the V-Hawks 40-33.
But above and beyond the stats, there were two things Van Hauen liked most out of her team on the night. One was the approach it took to what could have been a trap game and the other was the way it bounced back from the little bit of adversity it did face.
"We hadn't talked to them at all about the ranking, but I'm sure the girls knew about it," said Van Hauen, whose 15-2, 3-0 MCC club just jumped into the national NAIA rankings. "I was more concerned about coming off a great win, by 28, over William Penn. this was a tough game, and we talked about not looking ahead, but our kids know we have Grand View on Saturday. Then there was this game sandwiched in there and you're waiting for that downfall."
SAU led 4-2 more than six minutes in as neither team could find the range.
"Eventually, our defense is going to jump-start our offense," said Van Hauen. "We just need to continue to have confidence, keep shooting and they will eventually fall. Once they fell, it was 13-2."
"We did struggle, but we picked it up," said SAU's Lauren Cash, who scored a game-high tying 21 points.
But once SAU did get the offense rolling -- especially behind Cash, who hit a pair of 3-pointers -- the hosts went on a 28-7 run to lead by 20 with just over two minutes left in the first half.
Viterbo cut the lead to 46-38 six minutes into the second half and that was when the Queen Bees showed their moxie.
"We just had some mis-communication between girls, especially on the defensive end," said Cash of the root of Viterbo's rally. "We eventually got them stopped. That our little time off, I guess. It was very good knowing what we needed to do in order to fix something. We figured it out."
Sam Saladino had a solid all-around game for SAU, finishing with 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Katie Jensen had eight points and nine rebounds. Former Wethersfield standout Shelby Steger led the bench crew with eight points, hitting a pair of 3s.
It all led to the Queen Bees rolling to this 10th straight victory despite allowing Viterbo reserve Jenna Engh to score 21.
"I'm OK with that," said Cash of the win streak. "We're just going to try to keep it rolling."
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