Nichole Sly (Niles, MI/Niles) tallied 18 points in each game and Emily Strilich (Valparaiso, IN/Boone Grove) posted 12 and 18, respectively, as IU South Bend (5-7) dropped their opening game of the Crimson Wave Holiday Invite to Marian, 64-55 on Friday evening, before rebounding with a 66-55 triumph over host Calumet College of St. Joseph on Saturday afternoon. For her efforts, Sly was named to the All-Invite Team.
In the opener, the Titans fell behind midway through the opening half and trailed by as many as 15 before intermission, before cutting the gap to 35-23 at the break. Out of the locker room, IU South Bend played even with the Knights for the first 15 minutes, before they would go to work, cutting into the lead.
With the score sitting at 56-45 with just four minutes to play, Sly split a pair of free throws, Strilich connected on two of her own, Leah Meyer (Goshen, IN/Northridge) scored inside and Elyse Lefebvre (Pinckney, MI/Pinckney) converted a jumper to pull the Titans to within four, all on consecutive possessions.
After a Marian miss, Sly scored on a driving lay-in to slice the lead to just a pair with 1:45 to play, but the Knights quickly converted the next six points and held on for the win.
In game two, the Titans got off to a much better start, opening up a 22-11 lead midway through the first half. CCSJ, however, answered the call, embarking on a 9-0 spurt to cut the Titan lead down to just two. The Crimson Wave would eventually get the margin down to one with three minuets to play in the period, but a Sly scored five quick points to go with a Strilich score and the Titans carried a 34-27 lead into the half.
The second half was close, with the IU South Bend lead fluctuating between four and nune points over the first 13 minutes. Then, with the margin stuck at five, the Titans got a score from Strilich, a pair of free throws from Lizzie Stapke (Highland, IN/Highland), another Strilich basket, as well as a lay-up and a pair of free throws from Sly to take a 15-point lead with three mintues to go.
CCSJ was able to close the game over the final few minutes, but they were unable to get closer than eight as the Titans held on for the win. Stapke led the way for IU South Bend on the glass in the game, pulling down a career-best 13 rebounds.
The Titans return to action on Saturday, December 17, when they play host to Lourdes. Tip time is set for 12:00 noon (EST).