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November 17, 2003

Eagles pull out 77-72 win over Hillsdale

Box Score

The University of Southern Indiana women’s basketball team pulled out a 77-72 victory over Hillsdale College Monday night at the Physical Activities Center in Evansville, Indiana. The Screaming Eagles improve to 2-0 while the Chargers fall to 0-2.

Late in the game, the Eagles looked as if the contest would slip through their fingers as the Chargers possessed a 72-69 lead with 2:09 remaining in regulation. However, USI reeled off an 8-0 run, behind the scoring efforts of junior guards Kennitra Johnson (New Albany, Indiana) and Jamie Truitt (Owensboro, Kentucky), to close the game and pull out their second victory of the season.

The rally started with two minutes to go in the game when Truitt connected on a three-pointer to tie the game at 72. Johnson connected on three free throws down the stretch and Truitt iced the win with a pair of free throws with three seconds to go in the game.

“They made some big shots for us,” Head Coach Rick Stein said. “We had to step up and make some big plays on the offensive end and Kennitra and Truitt made those plays.”

USI’s struggled in the first stanza as it found itself down 29-17 with 7:17 to play before the break. The Eagles battled back, however, as they reeled off a 12-1 run in the span of five minutes to cut the Hillsdale lead to 30-29.

“Our intensity picked up and we got off our heels,” Stein explained. “We went from being on our heels to being the aggressor at both ends of the court.”

After finding themselves down 36-31 at the break, the Eagles came out of the locker room to 14-3 run that put them up 45-39 with 15 minutes remaining in the game.

The two teams went back and forth throughout the second period with each team trading free throws, three-pointers, and lay ups. USI, however, found itself staked to a 64-59 lead with 6:30 to play in the game.

Fouls played a factor down the stretch as Hillsdale took advantage of an aggressive USI defense. The Chargers shot 13 free throws, connecting on seven, in the last seven minutes of the contest.

Hillsdale tied the game at 66 with five minutes to play in regulation and took the lead 12 seconds later on a lay up by freshman guard Jen Carlson.

A lay up by senior forward Shannon Wells (Merrillville, Indiana) put USI in a 68-68 tie with just under four minutes remaining. Wells, who finished with eight points and six rebounds, also took a key charge late in the game that gave the Eagles the momentum it needed to pull out the win.

“I thought Wells sparked us,” Stein said. “She took us to another level and got a couple of rebounds at both ends of the court. She took a charge late in the game and the team responded.”

USI battled to take a 75-72 lead and held off all Hillsdale surges to preserve the victory.

For the game, Johnson led the Eagles with 19 points and six rebounds while Truitt poured in 18 points. Senior forward Shajuan Lindsey (Midlothian, Illinois) added 14 points.

The Eagles will return to action Tuesday, November 25, when they entertain Oakland City University in a men’s and women’s doubleheader. Tip-off is slated for 5:15 p.m. at the PAC.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

November 17

USI’s Johnson earns GLVC honors

University of Southern Indiana junior guard Kennitra Johnson (New Albany, Indiana) was named co-GLVC “Player of the Week” for her 24-point performance against Pittsburg State University this past Saturday. (more)

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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