A home game against a rated conference opponent begins a busy and important three-game extended weekend for the St. Ambrose women’s basketball team.

The Queen Bees host 14th-ranked St. Francis (Ill.) in a rare Friday Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference game that tips off at 5:30 p.m. at Lee Lohman Arena.

Saturday, St. Ambrose leaves for Florida and games on Monday at Warner and Tuesday at Webber International.

"Coming off of finals this week, it’s a chance for us to concentrate on basketball and bond a bit as a team," St. Ambrose coach Krista Van Hauen said. "It’s a good chance for us to come together and put some wins on the board.

"Obviously, St. Francis is ranked for a reason, but they are a team we’ve matched up well against in the past. They’re usually balanced and play good defense. We’ll need to do the same."

The Saints have four scorers averaging between 9 to 15 points and rank as one of the better rebounding teams in the CCAC, which has three teams ranked in the top 14 in this week’s NAIA Division II poll.

Working to blend together a roster that includes a handful of veteran players with 10 newcomers, St. Ambrose hit the reset button last week following a slow start to the season.

Van Hauen liked what she saw as the Queen Bees improved to 4-8 and evened their league record at 3-3 by rallying Saturday past a Trinity Christian team receiving votes in the latest national poll, 64-62.

"We expected it to take some time for things to come together and for roles to sort themselves out. I feel like we’re making some progress, and the newcomers, they’re a semester into this now, and they’re learning every day," Van Hauen said.

"We’re figuring out how to play together as a team, and these games are part of that process. We’re looking to make progress and win some games."

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