EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Senior guard Kiara Moses scored a career-high 21 points and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds to help lead University of Southern Indiana Women’s Basketball to a 79-70 come-from-behind win over host Missouri University of Science & Technology Saturday afternoon.
Moses played a huge role early in the contest as the Screaming Eagles surged to a commanding 28-9 lead early in the second period. She had 12 of her points in the first 11 minutes of the contest as USI outscored the Miners, 26-4, throughout a 10-minute stretch to take build the 19-point lead.
The Miners (7-14, 3-11 GLVC), however, rallied in the second period, outscoring the Eagles, 22-13, to trim USI’s lead to 39-31 at the intermission.
Missouri S&T shot 56.3 percent (9-16) in the second quarter and continued its charge into the third frame, where it shot 64.3 percent (9-14) from the field and 55.6 percent (5-9) from three-point range to take a 59-53 lead heading into the final period.
USI (14-6, 10-4 GLVC) chipped away at the Miners’ lead early in the fourth, cutting the deficit to 61-60 following a jumper by senior guard Ashley Johnson two minutes into the final period.
Missouri S&T, however, responded with five straight points to end the Eagles’ surge and take another six-point edge (66-60) with six minutes to play.
INSERT DEFENSE! USI held the Miners to just 2-of-8 shooting throughout the final six minutes of the contest as it roared back.
A pair of free throws by senior guard/forward Morgan Sherwood trimmed USI’s deficit to four; then a three-pointer by Moses followed by a second-chance basket by Sherwood put USI up, 67-66, with just under five minutes to play.
Johnson, who scored 11 of her 16 points in the fourth quarter after missing much of the first half with an apparent injury, connected on back-to-back buckets to complete an 11-0 USI run that put the Eagles up, 71-66, with three-and-a-half minutes to play.
After a Missouri S&T basket cut USI’s lead to three, Moses hit her fifth three-pointer of the game with just over two minutes to play to extend the Eagles advantage to 74-68. Johnson and Sherwood each had baskets in the next 90 seconds as USI finished off a 7-0 surge to take a double-digit lead with less than 40 seconds to play in the contest.
USI’s defense forced the Miners into six turnovers throughout the final six minutes of the contest, including four in the final two-and-a-half minutes of the game. As a team, USI finished with 17 steals, including four by Moses and three by Johnson. Junior guard Emma DeHart, who finished with 16 points, joined sophomore forward Ashlynn Brown and freshman forward Hannah Haithcock with three steals apiece.
Sophomore guard Laura Rodriguez led the Miners with 23 points and four assists, while senior Mykala Berry finished with 13 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks.Sherwood added nine points and five rebounds for the Eagles, while Brown, Haithcock and freshman guard Addy Blackwell each finished with three assists.
USI returns to Screaming Eagles Arena Thursday at 5:30 p.m. when it hosts Lindenwood University in a rematch from its 81-68 win over the Lions last week in St. Charles, Missouri. The Eagles also host the University of Missouri-St. Louis for Homecoming next Saturday at 1 p.m.
Notes: USI’s upperclassmen were huge for the Eagles in their win as they combined for 62 of USI’s 79 points Saturday...USI’s underclassmen, meanwhile, accounted for 10 of USI’s 13 assists.