The University of Evansville women's basketball team held an 11-point advantage at halftime, holding visiting Indiana State to just 15 first-half points, but the Sycamores used a 26-0 run and held the Purple Aces without a field goal for over 11 minutes to earn a 55-48 win Thursday night at the Ford Center.
Freshman Laura Friday scored a career-high 11 points, going 4-for-9 from the field, to lead three Evansville (8-14, 6-5 MVC) players in double figures. Redshirt senior Chelsea Falkenstein pitched in 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds off the bench, while sophomore Kat Taylor finished the evening with 10 points, marking her third-straight double-digit effort.
UE's defense was the story of the first half, as Indiana State (15-8, 7-5 MVC) shot just 12.9 percent from the field in the first half and scored a season-low 15 first-half points.
The Aces opened the game on an 11-1 run, as ISU missed its first 11 shots and was held without a field goal for the opening 7:17. Friday and Taylor combined to score Evansville's first 11 points, as Taylor buried a pair of triples and Friday followed with a layup and a three-pointer of her own to force a Sycamore timeout at the 13:10 mark.
UE built its lead to 19-6 on a layup by senior Samantha Heck with 4:45 remaining in the half, but Indiana State countered with a 9-0 run that was capped by a Natasha Zurek layup to cut the Aces' lead to 19-15 with just over two minutes to play in the opening period.
Evansville responded by scoring the final seven points of the half, including a fast-break layup by senior Meagan Collins, to take a 26-15 advantage into the locker room.
Taylor led the Aces with 10 first-half points, while Heck and sophomore Mallory Ladd combined for 14 rebounds in the opening 20 minutes. In addition, UE's defense held ISU to just four first-half field goals, as the Sycamores scored seven of their 15 points from the free throw line.
The two teams traded baskets for the opening five minutes of the second half and Evansville led 31-19 after a layup by Friday at the 15:16 mark, but Indiana State would respond with a remarkable defensive stand.
The Sycamores held UE without a field goal for the next 11:10, as they slowly chipped away at the Aces' lead, using a 26-0 run to take a 45-32 lead with just over four minutes remaining in the contest. During the run, ISU scored 20 points in the paint and forced nine UE turnovers.
Evansville would close the gap to five points on a Friday trey with 28 seconds to play, but Anna Munn sank a pair of free throws to seal the win and complete the Sycamore comeback.
Indiana State's Racheal Mahan led all scorers with 17 points and was the only ISU player to reach double figures. Taylor Whitley recorded nine points and eight rebounds in the win, while Munn added eight points, eight boards and a game-high five assists.
Evansville outrebounded Indiana State, 40-35, but the Sycamores scored 20 points off of 20 Aces' turnovers, while committing just nine.
ISU shot 65.2 percent in the second half, hitting 15 of its 23 shots, while UE shot just 29.6 percent over the final 20 minutes, going 8-for-27 from the field and 2-for-10 from behind the arc.
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