LOUISVILLE, KY (WFIE) - Senior forward/centers Anna Hackert (Evansville, Indiana) and Mary O'Keefe (Edwardsville, Illinois) each recorded career milestones Thursday as the University of Southern Indiana women's basketball team defeated Great Lakes Valley Conference rival Bellarmine University, 64-48, in its regular-season finale.
Hackert, who finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, passed USI and GLVC Hall of Famer LeAnn Freeland for first place all-time at USI in career rebounds (964). O'Keefe, who had six points, became the 15th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points and the seventh player with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.
USI (23-5, 15-3 GLVC), which posted its best regular-season record since it went 23-5 during the 2001-02 regular season, connected on four of its first six shots from downtown as they built a 16-6 lead a little more than six minutes into the contest.
The Eagles, however, cooled off drastically as the Knights roared back to take a 25-24 halftime advantage. USI coughed the ball up 11 times in the first 20 minutes and ended the half by going just 3-of-15 from the field in the final 13 minutes.
Additionally, USI went into the break with Hackert sitting on the bench with two fouls for the final 6:30 of the period.
The Eagles, however, used a fast start to the second half to overcome their first halftime deficit of the season—USI was 0-5 when trailing at the break prior to Thursday's game. USI scored the first 10 points of the second half to forge a 34-25 lead with 16 minutes to play.
USI made five of its first six shots from the field, with Hackert scoring the first four points after being held to just two points in the first 20 minutes.
Sophomore guard Tanner Marcum (New Albany, Indiana) took the game over later in the period as she scored 12 of her game-high 16 points in the final 10 minutes of the contest. Her three-pointer, USI's only trifecta in its final 12 attempts, answered a Bellarmine three-pointer to give the Eagles a 45-37 edge with eight minutes to play.
Marcum's bucket with just over six minutes to play capped off a 9-2 run that gave the Eagles a commanding 51-39 lead. Hackert and senior guard Autumn Miller (Louisville, Kentucky) combined for five straight free throws later in the period as USI upped its advantage to 56-41 with just over three minutes left.
USI, which shot 38.2 percent from the field in the second half, committed just four turnovers and out-rebounded the Knights 27-20 in the final 20 minutes. The Eagles, who completed the regular season by going 9-1 in road games, held their opponent to less than 50 points for the third straight game and the fourth time in the last five outings.
In addition to Hackert and Marcum, the Eagles had eight players score at least five points. Senior forward/center Cayla Herbst (Glen Ellyn, Illinois) added five points, eight rebounds, and three blocks, while Miller contributed six points, six assists, and three steals.
The Eagles, who conclude the regular season on a nine-game winning streak, enter the GLVC Tournament next Friday in St. Charles, Missouri, as the No. 3 overall seed thanks to Lewis University's victory over the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Thursday. USI will find out its quarterfinals opponent following conclusion of Sunday's first round.Courtesy: USI Sports Information Department