Crusaders Drop Season Opener to St. Thomas on Friday

Crusaders open new season with home setback.
Crusaders open new season with home setback.

IRVING, Texas - The University of Dallas women's basketball team fell to the University of St. Thomas (TX) 77-59 on Friday evening. The Crusaders (0-1) outrebounded the Celts 55-43, grabbing 24 offensive boards leading to 14 second chance points. 26 fastbreak points - 14 coming in the second half - helped St. Thomas (1-1) pull away and into the win column.

The Celts had two shots fall early in the opening quarter, but Faith Starnes (Bryan, Texas) buried consecutive 3-pointers and found an open layup to help the Crusaders jump out to a 10-4 lead. With under two and a half minutes the Celts went on an 8-0 run to push the lead to six (20-14). Alexis Vera (San Antonio, Texas) ended the run by knocking down a trey. Later in the quarter, Aerial Starks dropped a jumper with 16 seconds remaining for a 22-17 St. Thomas lead at the end of one period.

Starnes opened up the second frame with a 3-pointer. A minute later, Panda Green (Farmersville, Texas) sunk both of her shots at the charity stripe to tie the game at 22. Diaz grabbed four points in the quarter, with three coming at the free-throw line late. Dallas had the ball down five with nine seconds remaining in the half. Zariah McInnis stole the UD pass and heaved a half-court shot that fell to put the Celts up 41-33 at the half. McInnis led the Celts in the period with eight points.

Green opened up the third quarter with a layup and Tiffani Lowe (San Francisco, Calif.) nailed a 3-pointer to help UD inch closer. Sherdian Hopkins did knock down a jumper for the Celts, but an open layup by Diaz helped UD to get within two (43-41). A 7-0 run capped off by a trey by Alexya Castillo helped create a marginal lead for St. Thomas. The Celts then had a 12-6 spread in the final three and a half minutes as Hopkins shot 5-6 from the field finishing with 11 points in that period.

Dallas was outscored 15-10 in the final frame, as they were unable to cut the lead to single-digits. Hopkins scored 11 points in that quarter, as she finished with a game-high 32 points and went 13-for-23 in field goals.

Diaz notched her first career double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds (career-high), as she grabbed eight offensive boards. Starnes ended the game with 16 points (4-for-6 3FG) and eight rebounds, while Lowe added 11 points.

St. Thomas won the battle at the charity stripe as they shot 15-of-17 (88.2%) as Dallas went 19-for-31 (61.3%) from the line. 

Along with the game-high 32 points by Hopkins, McInnis chipped in 15, while Castillo contributed 13 for the Celts.


Dallas takes over a week off before making a trip out West as they will play three games in California. First on the trip will be Cal. Institute of Tech. (CA) on Wednesday (11/21) at 2 p.m. (PST).