USI women suffer first conference loss

SPRINGFIELD, MO (WFIE)

The University of Southern Indiana women's basketball team suffered a 64-54 Great Lakes Valley Conference setback to No. 15 Drury University Thursday night at the O'Reilly Family Event Center.

Drury (10-2, 4-0 GLVC) used a 15-2 first-half run to turn a one-point deficit into a 25-13 lead it would not relinquish.

After opening the game by connecting on three of their first four shots, the Screaming Eagles went 0-for-6 from the field and committed eight turnovers during the nine-minute stretch that staked the host Panthers to a double-digit lead.

USI (10-3, 2-1 GLVC), which went nearly 12 minutes without a field goal in the opening period, committed 14 turnovers and shot 36.8 percent (7-19) from the field in the first 20 minutes as Drury went into the locker room with a comfortable 37-23 halftime advantage.

The Panthers, who shot 48.4 percent (15-31) from the field in the first half, continued their onslaught early in the second half as they extend their advantage to 18 with a quick 4-0 rally.

Trailing 48-26 with 15 minutes to play, the Eagles went on a 9-0 run to get them back into contention. Freshman guard/forward Kaydie Grooms (Marshall, Illinois) sandwiched a pair of baskets around a three-pointer by senior guard Mariah Nimmo (Groveland, Illinois) as USI got to within 11 points with just over 13 minutes to play.

Senior forward/center Anna Hackert (Evansville, Indiana), who battled foul trouble throughout the contest, cut USI's deficit to single digits moments later with a layup.

Drury, which went 7-of-18 from three-point range, countered with a basket by senior center Sanayika Shields and a trifecta from junior guard Annie Armstrong. Armstrong, who hit the buzzer-beating shot to sink the Eagles at the Physical Activities Center, 91-89, a year ago, finished with a game-high 17 points.

Trailing by 15 with four minutes to play following another Armstrong three-pointer, the Eagles made one final push. Hackert, who fouled out with a team-high 12 points and six rebounds, pulled USI to within 13 with a layup, while senior guard Libby Ogden (Tipton, Indiana) hit a three-pointer to pull USI to within 10 with less than three minutes to play.

Grooms, who recorded her first-career double-double with 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, had a basket with a minute to play to cap off the 7-0 run that got USI to within eight points (60-52).

That was as close as the Eagles would get, however, as the Panthers held on for the 10-point victory.

In addition to Hackert and Grooms, the Eagles got 10 points from sophomore guard Tanner Marcum (New Albany, Indiana) and eight points from Ogden. Senior forward/center Cayla Herbst (Glen Ellyn, Illinois) added a season-high nine rebounds for the Eagles, who held a 37-27 edge on the boards.

Junior guard Addy Roller added 15 points, including 11 in the first half, for the Panthers, who outscored the Eagles 10-2 in fast-break points.

USI returns to action Saturday at 1 p.m. when it travels to Rolla, Missouri, to take on Missouri University of Science & Technology. The Miners (4-8, 0-4 GLVC) fell to Bellarmine University, 65-61, Thursday in Rolla.
 
Courtesy: University of Southern Indiana Sports Information