EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) -Senior guard/forward Morgan Sherwood scored a career-high 16 points as University of Southern Indiana Women’s Basketball rallied from a 12-point first-half deficit to defeat host McKendree University, 71-66, in its Great Lakes Valley Conference-opener Tuesday evening at Harry M. Strathman Sports Center.
Trailing 29-17 at the end of the opening period and 31-19 early in the second frame, the Screaming Eagles began to slowly tilt momentum in their favor. USI scored four straight points to trim the deficit to eight three minutes into the second quarter and trailed 35-27 with just under four minutes to play in the half following a layup by junior guard Emma DeHart.
McKendree (5-2, 0-1 GLVC), however, got a three-pointer from senior guard Jordan Heberg to extend its lead back to double-digits with three minutes to play in the half.
Insert freshman forward Hannah Haithcock, who hit back-to-back three-pointers to get the Eagles to within five points. The two teams swapped free throws at the end of the half and the Eagles went into the break facing a 39-34 halftime deficit.
USI (5-1, 1-0 GLVC) got a pair of buckets from DeHart early in the second half and a basket by junior center Audrey Turner got the Eagles to within one (41-40) three minutes out of the intermission.
The Bearcats scored on back-to-back possessions to push their lead back to five points, but the Eagles, once again, answered. Sherwood hit a three-pointer from the far corner to cut McKendree’s lead to 45-43; while a bucket by senior guard Kiara Moses evened the score at 45 with just under five minutes to play in the third stanza.
Freshman guard Addy Blackwell hit a three-pointer 38 seconds later to give the Eagles their first lead since the opening minutes of the contest; while sophomore forward Ashlynn Brown capped what turned out to be an 11-0 run with a three-pointer from the top of the arc, giving the Eagles’ an improbable six-point lead less with than three minutes left in the third quarter.
Brown quelled a McKendree run moments later, giving USI a 53-49 advantage with a basket, while a transition three-pointer by Sherwood put USI up 56-50.
Heberg, who scored 15 of her career-high 29 points in the first 10 minutes of the contest, brought the Bearcats back, hitting a three-pointer to tie the contest at 56-56 with eight minutes to play in the contest.
Sherwood, however, responded with an old-fashioned three-point play a minute later to put the Eagles back in front, 59-56. USI used the free throw line to score its next eight points, and a three-pointer by DeHart with less than two minutes to play in the game capped off a 14-3 surge that gave the Eagles a commanding 70-59 edge.
In addition to Sherwood, the Eagles got 12 points from Haithcock and 11 points from DeHart. Senior guard Ashley Johnson added eight points and four assists.
USI returns to action December 22 when it travels to Ashland, Ohio, to take on No. 6 Ashland University in a Midwest Region clash. The Eagles resume GLVC play January 2 when they host No. 1 Drury University at Screaming Eagles Arena.
Notes: After watching McKendree go 10-of-14 (.714) from the field in the first quarter, the Eagles defense clamped down on the Bearcats. USI held McKendree to just four second-quarter field goals and to just 8-of-28 (.286) shooting in the second half.
Courtesy: USI Athletics