LOUISVILLE, KY (WFIE) - Despite getting a career-high 19 points from junior guard Ashley Johnson (Louisville, Kentucky), University of Southern Indiana Women’s Basketball suffered a 66-61 Great Lakes Valley Conference loss to host Bellarmine University Saturday evening at Knights Hall. USI (14-6, 7-3 GLVC) saw an 11-point halftime lead slip away as the Knights used a 10-0 run to end the third before outscoring the Screaming Eagles 17-8 throughout the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter. Bellarmine (10-8, 4-6 GLVC) trailed 45-35 with six minutes to play in the third period before holding the Eagles to 0-of-8 shooting and four turnovers throughout the rest of the quarter to even the score at 45-45.The Eagles' woes continued into the fourth period, where they made just two of their first 12 shots while committing six turnovers. The Knights took advantage of USI’s cold shooting as they surged out to a 62-53 lead with 45 seconds left in the contest.Johnson, however, made a game of it in the final minute as she scored eight of her team-high 19 points in the final 40 seconds.With USI trailing 62-53, Johnson scored on a pull up jumper in the lane, getting fouled in the process for a three-point play to cut USI’s deficit to six. She got a steal and a layup on Bellarmine’s next possession to pull the Eagles to within four with 34 seconds left in the game.Following a Bellarmine free throw, Johnson hit a three-pointer to get the Eagles to within 63-61 with 22 seconds to play. USI had a chance to go for the tie in the final 20 seconds after a Bellarmine missed three-pointer, but sophomore guard Kennedy Williams (Marshall, Illinois) had her three-point attempt blocked, while Mikayla Rowan (Brazil, Indiana) was unable to get her put back attempt to go in the hoop. Bellarmine’s Breia Torrens secured the rebound and hit two free throws with seven seconds to play to secure the win for the Knights and USI’s second straight loss.
Night and day--The difference between the first and second halves was like the difference between night and day for the Eagles. USI made 12-of-25 (.480) from the field, was 4-of-7 (.571) from three-point range and went 12-of-15 (.800) from the free throw line in the first 20 minutes. The Eagles, with a minute left in the game, were just 4-of-28 (.143) from the field, 1-of-5 (.200) from three-point range and 4-of-12 (.333) from the free throw line in the second half. USI finished the game 19-of-59 (.322) from the field, 6-of-15 (.400) from three-point range and 17-of-28 (.607) from the charity stripe.
Three-point plays huge in first half--USI made a killing on three-point plays in the opening half. The Eagles made four three-pointers, were fouled on another three-pointer before converting all three free throws and had three old-fashioned three-point plays in the first 20 minutes of the game.
Statistical leaders--In addition to Johnson, who had three assists and five steals, the Eagles also got 10 points apiece from sophomore forward Imani Guy (Columbus, Indiana) and senior center Kacy Eschweiler (St. Charles, Missouri). Rowan added a career-high 12 rebounds to lead USI on the boards, while Mikayla Berry came off the bench to lead the Knights with a game-high 23 points.
Up next--USI continues its three-game road trip Thursday at 4:30 p.m. (CST) when it visits the University of Indianapolis. The Eagles conclude the trip next Saturday when they visit No. 11/18 Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois.