Aces advance to MVC semifinals with overtime win vs. Drake

Published: Mar. 14, 2015 at 2:21 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 14, 2015 at 2:23 AM CDT
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The 7th seeded University of Evansville women's basketball team (13-18) set a program and Missouri Valley Conference Tournament record with 17 made three-pointers in an 84-79 overtime victory against the #2 Drake Bulldogs in the MVC Quarterfinals on Friday night.

“I'm really proud of my girls,” said Evansville head coach Oties Epps. “They're resilient and they executed our game plan to a ‘T.”

Guard Khristian Hart scored a career-high 29 points in the victory, the second in as many days for the Aces. Hart was 9-for-13 in the game, 6-for-8 beyond the arc, and 5-for-6 at the free throw line. After a 27 point, 14 rebound in the opening round, forward Mallory Ladd posted another 22 point, 7 rebound effort for UE.

“We just kept our composure,” said Ladd. “It was our game and we were taking it.”

Leading by a point early on, Evansville went on an 8-1 run to take a 12-4 advantage. Four different UE players hit a three pointer each during the stretch that pushed the Bulldogs down by eight. The Purple Aces defense fueled the run by forcing six Drake turnovers. After a Bulldogs run, UE answered back by scoring the next six points on threes from Dickey and guard Kat Taylor for the 19-11 edge. Following a 12-0 Drake run, the Bulldogs had their first lead. The Aces fell behind 25-20 with 2:31 left in the half, but UE scored the final eight points to regain the lead entering the break. Six UE players scored in the first half as the Purple Aces first eight made field goals were all from beyond the arc. Evansville did not have a made field goal from the interior until 22 seconds left for a lay-in. Evansville's defense forced 17 turnovers in the first half.

UE increased the lead to six out of halftime only to see Drake rally back and go ahead 48-41 with 10:48 left in regulation. The Aces then tallied the next seven points in a row to even up the score at 48. Drake extended the advantage back to five points but UE rallied back to take a 56-55 lead at the 5:02 mark. Drake lowered the deficit to one, 61-60 on a Caitlin Ingle jumper with 3:36 left, then went ahead by two on an Ingle and one jumper with 55 seconds left. Guard Sara Dickey then tied the game at 63 on a mid-range jumper in the lane with 28 seconds to go. Drake had the last shot but forward Lizzy Wendell missed a contested layup as time expired. Playing in just their second overtime game of the season, UE took over and never trailed the rest of the way. After Evansville forward Sasha Robinson and Wendell exchanged jumpers, UE pulled away on a 12-2 run for a 75-67 lead. Drake brought the deficit to two points, 75-73 with 1:43 to go in overtime but Ladd fired back with a three pointer and mid-range jumper to extend the lead back to six. The Aces made all four free throws in the final seven seconds to secure the victory.

Dickey also set the single-season scoring record with her first made field goal of the game, passing Shyla Puelston for most in school history. Dickey now has 582 points.

UE has now advanced to the MVC semifinals and will play the winner of #3 Missouri State and #6 Indiana State. The game will be on Saturday, March 14 at 4:07 p.m. CDT.

Provided by UE Sports Information Department