JCU Women’s Basketball excels with young squad at Tip-Off Tournament


JCU Sports Information Department

Kaelyn Underwood makes a big move in the post for the Blue and Gold.

Ashley McCall, Sports Editor

The John Carroll University Women’s Basketball team started the season off with two big victories during the JCU Tip-Off Tournament sponsored by the Winking Lizard on both Fri., Nov. 11 and Sat., Nov. 12. 

“We had two really great wins this weekend,” said Kaelyn Underwood ‘23. “It was exciting to watch everyone contribute in some way.” 

The Blue and Gold hosted three other teams during the tournament: Hiram College, St. John Fisher University and Allegheny College. 

The Blue Streaks played the second game on both days of the tournament, starting first against Allegheny on Saturday night. In an almost comeback defeat, John Carroll stood strong against the Gators as they won by a close score of 67-64. 

Underwood got the scoring started, earning the first points of the game and season. After some back and forth scoring, the Blue and Gold held a 14-10 lead going into the second quarter. The second quarter is when JCU shined as they outscored the Gators 24-17 and they took the lead 38-27 at the end the first half. 

The Blue Streaks outscored Allegheny once again in the third quarter, albeit by a smaller margin, 21-19 as they held onto their 13 point lead. 

Maddie Pietrowski brings the ball up for the Blue Streaks on Friday night. (JCU Sports Information Department)

The fourth quarter is where all John Carroll fans sat on the edge of their seats. The Gators were able to hold the dominating Blue and Gold to just eight points as they added 18 of their own. John Carroll never faltered with the lead but Allegheny worked their way back into the game, going on short scoring sprees and hitting JCU with heavy ball pressure. 

The Gators had a chance with 10 seconds left in the game as they faced an out-of-bounds possession on the sideline of their offensive end. Calling a timeout, Allegheny drew up a play for the final three-points to tie the game up. 

Defense was the focus coming out of the timeout for John Carroll and they delivered as they forced the Gators to throw up a misconstrued three with pressure. With this final play, the buzzer sounded and the Blue and Gold had earned their first win of the 2022-23 season. 

13 Blue Streaks made their way onto the court by the end of the game as JCU Head Coach Beth Andrews provided plenty of substitutions to keep the team fresh. 

Halle Landies ‘24 led the team in points finishing with 13 of her own. She was followed closely behind by Underwood who added 12 points, leading the team in rebounds with 12 and padded her stat line with 2 blocks and 3 steals. Maddie Pietrowski ‘25, Bella Carciopollo ‘26 and Olivia Giunta ‘25 each contributed 7 points. 

While not the prettiest victory, the Blue Streaks were back in action in less than 24 hours as they matched up against Hiram College in the final game of the JCU Women’s Basketball Tip-Off Tournament. 

The Blue and Gold wanted to make no mistake on this final victory of the Tip-Off Tournament as they beat the Terriers 79-63. 

Pietrowski was the one to get the scoring going as she nailed a three-point shot on the first possession down. Underwood once again showed her offensive mindset as she totaled 7 points in the first quarter alone as JCU led 24-14 after just 10 minutes of play. 

The Terriers did not bow down though and ended up out-scoring the home team 22-17 after forcing six turnovers and eight team fouls by John Carroll. 

Coming out of the locker room after halftime, the Blue Streaks still had a small lead of 41-36 but now with a burning passion for success. 

The two teams continued to battle it out and by the end of the third, the score was just 59-51 in favor of the Blue and Gold.

Freshman Carmen Hueker had a breakout performance during the tip-off tournament last weekend. (JCU Sports Information Department)

John Carroll focused up for the final quarter, as they were determined to not let a similar ending to the prior game happen, and found themselves the victors of a hard-fought battle. 

Underwood had another fantastic game for herself as she led the team in points with 15 and earned Tournament MVP honors. Pietrowski also received a spot on the All-Tournament team as she finished with 13 points. 

“We all have big shoes to fill after our team’s past successes and I think this weekend showed that as a team we are capable of that,” finished Underwood. “I am sure this season will present its challenges as we are a fairly young team, but I think as a team we can overcome anything.”

The Blue and Gold will be back in action on Sat., Nov. 19 at 4:00 p.m. as they head to Albion, Michigan as they look to continue their winning ways against Albion College.