EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - The University of Southern Indiana women's basketball team overcame a season-high 23 turnovers to defeat Great Lakes Valley Conference East Division rival Bellarmine University, 65-59, Monday night at the Physical Activities Center.
After a back-and-forth second half, USI used a late 6-0 run to turn a one-point lead into a much-more cozy 64-57 cushion with less than 30 seconds to play in the contest. USI went 1-of-2 from the floor and 4-of-5 from the free throw line during the two-minute stretch that essentially sealed the fourth straight victory for the Screaming Eagles.
Senior forward/center Anna Hackert (Evansville, Indiana) and senior guard Libby Ogden (Tipton, Indiana) each had four points in an 11-0 run that put the Eagles in front, 13-3, early in the contest.
The Knights (8-7, 3-4 GLVC) roared back, cutting USI's advantage to one point with six minutes to play in the opening frame on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Destony Curry.
USI (14-3, 6-1 GLVC), however, used an 8-0 run to, once again, create separation from its opponent. Senior guard Autumn Miller (Louisville, Kentucky) followed a layup by freshman guard/forward Kaydie Grooms (Marshall, Illinois) with back-to-back layups; then Hackert scored on a layup off an assist from Miller as the Eagles, who went 4-of-7 from the floor while holding the Knights to 0-of-6 shooting during the spurt, built a 29-20 lead with 2:30 to play in the opening period.
The Eagles, though, could not maintain their momentum as they committed three of their 14 first-half turnovers in the final two minutes of the first half. USI, which got just one shot off in the final two minutes of the opening period, saw the Knights go on a 9-0 run to end the frame as the two teams went into the break in a 29-29 stalemate.
After spotting the Knights a one-point lead early in the second half, the Eagles used a 9-2 run, on the strength of a strong defensive effort, to go up 38-32 with 17 minutes left in the contest. USI held the Knights to just 1-of-5 shooting during the stretch as it took control of the contest.
Bellarmine, however, chipped away at the deficit and eventually forged a 47-44 lead with 10 minutes to play following a layup by junior center Jennifer Smith.
USI answered with a pair of 5-0 runs later in the frame to build a 54-49 lead with less than six minutes to play. The Eagles saw their lead slip to 58-57, but free throws by senior forward/center Mary O'Keefe (Edwardsville, Illinois) and Hackert as well as a layup by Grooms put the game out of reach for the Knights.
The Eagles, who shot 42.9 percent from the field on 21-of-49 shooting, held the Knights to 30.6 percent from the field on 19-of-62 shooting. Hackert led all scorers with 16 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks, while O'Keefe and Miller each chipped in 10 points for the Eagles.
Hackert moved into second place all-time at USI in career rebounds (847), surpassing USI Hall of Famer Eileen Weber (842).
USI returns to action Thursday at 5:15 p.m. when it hosts the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (12-4, 5-2 GLVC) at the PAC. The Eagles also host No. 1 Lewis University (17-0, 7-0 GLVC) Saturday at 1 p.m.