With over a week off between games, it's not surprising the St. Ambrose women's basketball team got off to a slow start Wednesday night.

But the Queen Bees got into enough of a groove to get the job done.

A 12-0 run to end the first quarter helped St. Ambrose hold off a pesky Governors State team, with the Queen Bees grabbing a 63-55 win, their second straight victory.

"That run was the difference in the game," St. Ambrose head coach Krista Van Hauen said. "After that we just kind of put it on cruise control. It's a good win; we have a lot to improve on yet."

Both teams got off to a slow start, starting a combined 6-for-23, and were tied 7-7 through the first six minutes of action.

But the Queen Bees (3-6, 2-2 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference) got hot to close out the frame, forcing seven turnovers and shooting 80 percent from the field in the final four minutes to take a 19-7 lead after the first quarter.

Reeann McCarty led the way, scoring nine of her team-high 17 points in the first quarter.

"Going on that run actually saved us in the fourth quarter to win the game," McCarty said. "We just tried to come out, especially on a night like tonight, with all the fans here, come out on fire."

McCarty also had six of the team's 10 steals as the Queen Bees forced the Jaguars (3-6, 0-4) into 26 turnovers in the game.

"We're really focusing on getting three stops in a row and then converting it into points," she said. "Tonight we were just trying to get up and down, push the tempo and push the momentum."

That 12-point spurt carried the Bees through a back and forth second quarter that saw St. Ambrose up its lead to 24-9 before the Jaguars fought back, cutting the deficit to 34-23 at halftime.

The Jaguars cut the lead to 38-31 thanks to two quick 3s from Alexi Karovic to start the third quarter.

McCarty countered with a steal and a basket, sparking a 9-2 run that extended the Queen Bees' lead back to a comfortable margin.

But turnovers hit the Queen Bees hard in the third quarter as they committed seven in the frame, allowing the Jaguars to cut the lead to 49-41 entering the fourth quarter.

From then on St. Ambrose countered every Jaguar punch with an attack of its own, holding on for the win.

"We're learning as we go," Van Hauen said. "We had some gritty players that stepped up and performed pretty big for us."

Charlotte Flynn added 12 points while Hailey Cook had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

"It's all about the consistency," Cook said. "We know that even if a team is going to fight back on us we have to stay consistent and play our game, whether we're up 20 or down 20.

"We're building on a lot of stuff, we have a lot of players that can play really good defense and play really good offense. ... We've gotten to the point where everybody is playing their part and everybody is playing to the best of their abilities."


Sports reporter for the Quad-City Times