KIRKSVILLE, MO. (WFIE) - University of Southern Indiana Women’s Basketball trailed by as much as 19 points in the first quarter and by 13 points with less than six minutes to play in the contest; but after seeing numerous comeback attempts fall by the wayside, the Screaming Eagles finally broke through en-route to an 83-78 Great Lakes Valley Conference victory over host Truman State University Sunday afternoon.
USI (6-1, 6-1 GLVC) had a nightmare start to the game as the Bulldogs raced out to a 12-0 lead midway through the opening quarter. The Eagles’ deficit ballooned to as much as 19 late in the first period; but, following a buzzer-beating three-pointer from freshman forward Meredith Raley (Haubstadt, Indiana) to end the frame, the Eagles erupted for 30 second-quarter points.
The Eagles went 6-of-8 from three-point range in the second quarter alone as they got to within two points on a pair of occasions late in the first half.
Truman (4-2, 4-2 GLVC), however, answered with a 7-2 run to end the half and take a 51-44 lead into the intermission. The Bulldogs came out of the locker room with a 7-2 spurt to extend their advantage to 58-46 less than three minutes into the third quarter.
Trailing 62-50 with less than five minutes to play in the third quarter, the Eagles used a 10-0 run to, once again, get to within two points with 80 seconds left to play in period.
USI trailed 66-62 heading into the final 10 minutes, but another slow start to the period put the Eagles into a double-digit deficit (77-64) with less than six minutes to play.
Junior forward Ashlynn Brown (Perrysburg, Ohio), making her first start of the year, hit a three-pointer with 5:38 to play in the contest to get the Eagles to within 10 points. The three-pointer kick-started a 15-0 USI run that gave the Eagles their first lead of the contest (78-77) with 90 seconds on the clock.
Brown, who scored a career-high 17 points, had five points in the run that ended with the Eagles holding a 79-77 advantage with less than a minute left.
Truman State had a chance to tie the contest with 35 seconds on the clock, but senior center Katie Jaseckas missed the first of two free throws, allowing the Eagles to maintain a one-point edge.
Senior guard Emma DeHart (Indianapolis, Indiana), who scored 10 of her 13 points in the second half, knifed through the lane for a layup with less than 10 seconds to play to extend USI’s lead to 81-78. DeHart also had five assists.
Sophomore guard Hannah Belanger’s game-tying three-point attempt missed its mark with less than five seconds to play and Brown corralled the rebound for the Eagles, who got a pair of free throws from sophomore guard Addy Blackwell (Bloomington, Indiana) in final second to ice the game.
Blackwell finished the game with 11 points, while Raley had 13. USI’s bench outscored Truman’s reserves, 38-9, with sophomore forward Tara Robbe (Wildwood, Missouri) contributing eight points and a team-high six rebounds. Sophomore guard Lexi Thompson (Lafayette, Indiana) added a career-high tying six points off the bench.
Belanger had 25 points to pace the Bulldogs, who also got 22 points from junior guard Katey Klucking.
USI, which had just two turnovers in the contest, returns to action Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. when it visits Quincy University at Pepsi Arena.
Notes: USI’s 30-point eruption in the second quarter was USI’s highest point total in a single quarter since scoring 31 in the first quarter of its 90-71 victory over Missouri S&T January 18, 2018…after allowing the Bulldogs to go 12-of-16 (.750) from the field in the first quarter, USI held the Bulldogs to just 3-of-11 (.273) shooting in the fourth quarter…the Eagles held Truman to 0-of-7 shooting during the final six minutes of the contest.