MARION – This was no meeting of strangers Tuesday night, with the Crossroads League women’s title on the line. More like a meeting of squabbling siblings here in Luckey Arena, with No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan at one end of the scorer’s table and No. 2 Saint Francis on the other.
So, of course, like all sibling rivalries, it ended in that great philosophical debate: “No, you can’t” vs. “Yes, I can.”
No, Saint Francis couldn’t possibly win, not after an 18 1/2-minute funk in which it squeezed out just two field goals, not after Indiana Wesleyan outscored the Cougars by 19 points from the 4:18 mark of the first half to 7:48 of the second.
Yes, Saint Francis could win, and did, 54-48, rallying late to end a 35-game home winning streak for Wesleyan and beat the Wildcats in tournament play for only the second time in eight tries, and for the first time in the last four meetings.
Hoisting a conference trophy rarely gets sweeter.
“It really was a battle. We had to battle the whole game,” said Skylarr Shurn, who scored 17 of her game-high 21 points in the second half.