JOLIET – Samantha Quigley Smith admitted that it definitely affected her to be back on the bench coaching a game on Pat Quigley court Thursday at the University of St. Francis’ Sullivan Center, since it brought back a lot of good memories.
But the third-year Lewis University women’s basketball coach, who went 101-62 in five seasons as the St. Francis coach, quickly got over the nerves once the game began, and her Flyers got off to a good start that turned into a solid all-around effort in the 75-54 win. It was an exhibition game for Lewis and a regular contest for USF, which is ranked No. 8 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
“It’s a little strange,” Quigley Smith said. “It was good to see the people, the familiar faces at just a great all-around place, so it was fun to be back here. I was a little sick to my stomach before, but it’s a good, energetic place, and we had a good crowd. And [USF is] really tough this year, and one or two shots could have taken us to a not so comfortable place. They had energy on the glass, so we had to fight for every board we got.
“Our execution offensively was really solid, and we did a pretty good job defensively. Their offense has a lot of movement and a lot of cutting, so to be aware of that and to be ready to help each other, I thought we made their best players earn every basket. And we got some of those 50-50 balls in the third and fourth, and I thought that was real important for us.”
Lewis jumped out to a 10-0 lead, was ahead, 16-8, after one quarter and led, 35-22, at halftime. Joliet Catholic Academy graduate Kaitlyn Williams scored all of her 13 points in the first half and had six rebounds to help the Flyers to the quick start.
“They’re a tough team, and it’s always super fun to play them since they’re crosstown rivals,” Williams said. “Our defense really came through today. Everybody contributed today, which was awesome, and we had points all across the board. It really helps when we’re all scoring and all defending and get wins like this. “
Rachel Hinders scored 12 of her game-high 17 points in the second half, as the Flyers led by at least 10 points the entire second half. Other top scorers for Lewis were Grace Hilber (nine points), Dajae Black (eight points) and Reilly Olmstead (eight points).
The Saints (8-3) were led by Kaitlin Aylward, who scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Other Saints top scorers were Paige Gieseke (eight points), Jordan Pyle (eight points), Andriana Acosta (seven points, eight rebounds) and Shadrian McDaniel (seven points).
In the men’s game, Lewis beat St. Francis, 86-72. The Flyers were led by Anthony D’Avanzo (25 points), and the Saints were led by Cole Micek (24 points).