EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Four University of Evansville women's basketball players scored in double figures as the Purple Aces defeated the Austin Peay Lady Govs 72-68 in the 2014-15 regular season opener at the Ford Center.
Sophomore guard Sara Dickey led all Lady Aces with 20 points as sophomore forward Sasha Robinson netted nine points and a career-high 16 rebounds in the victory.
Senior forward Mallory Ladd notched her 16th career double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Senior guard Khristian Hart also provided 13 points off the bench, a last minute steal and a pair of final second free throws in the Aces narrow win.
With nine seconds left in the second half and UE holding a 70-68 lead, Hart stole the ball from center Tearra Banks and created a turnover. Hart was then fouled on the inbound, making back to back free throws to seal the Evansville four point victory. Evansville never trailed in the first half, leading by as much as 13 points on a pair of Dickey free throws with 9:53 left.
Down 20-7, the Lady Govs rallied back to finish the opening half on a 14-6 run and only trail UE by two points entering the second half. Dickey had 11 points in the first half as Robinson already held 11 rebounds at that point in the game.
The contest featured eight ties and six lead changes, all in the second half. Austin Peay evened up the score with a Kristen Stainback jumper just 29 seconds after halftime. Both teams jockeyed back and forth for a bit until Evansville broke away from a 44-43 lead by scoring 10 of the next 12 points.
Losing 54-45, Austin Peay then raced back on a 9-0 run including five in a row from Madison Rich, who had a game-high 21 points off the bench. Evansville responded by taking a five point lead on two Khristian Hart free throws with 5:04 to go in regulation. Trailing 59-54, Austin Peay scored five of the next six points to tie the game again at 62.
The Lady Govs went ahead 66-65 on a jumper by Beth Rates with 1:51 on the clock. Evansville ended the afternoon contest by scoring seven of the last eight points including three points from Dickey and two free throws from both Hart and Ladd.
This is the third consecutive season-opening win for Evansville. Despite being outscored 29-13 off the bench, UE won the rebounding edge 47-44. The Purple Aces shot 39% from the floor compared to 35% for Austin Peay. Evansville's next five games will be on the road.
The Aces next contest is at Ball State on Wednesday, November 19 at 6:00 p.m. UE's next home game will be on Saturday, December 6 against Miami (Ohio) for a 4:00 p.m. tip at the Ford Center.