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January 29, 2004

Quick turnaround gives Eagles huge road victory

Box Score

The University of Southern Indiana women’s basketball team picked up a much needed road victory as the Screaming Eagles topped the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, 71-65, Thursday night at the DeSimone Gymnasium in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Eagles improve to 13-5 overall and 7-5 in the GLVC, while the Rangers fall to 9-8 overall and 6-5 in the GLVC.

Down by 14 with less than 13 minutes to play in the game, the Eagles went on a 25-5 run through the next 12 minutes of the contest to grab a six-point advantage late in the game. The Eagles were sparked by some tremendous team defense that held the Rangers to just two buckets in the final 13 ˝ minutes of the contest.

“We made a commitment at halftime to play USI basketball, to play our defense,” Head Coach Rick Stein said in his WSWI post-game interview with Lance Potts. “We decided we were going to play team defense and (do) the things that built our team and that have given us 13 wins.”

The Eagles’ defense did a complete turnaround in its efforts to stop UWP junior center Sammy Kromm, the GLVC’s sixth leading scorer. Kromm scored 17 points in the first period, only to end up with 19 points by game’s end.

“One person can’t stop Kromm, but our whole team can,” Stein stated. “In the second half I think she had two points and at halftime she had 17. As a team, we came together.”

Kromm’s 17 first half points helped the Rangers establish a 39-33 halftime advantage. UWP built its lead to as many as 11 in the opening stanza, but a late USI surge cut the lead to six by the break.

Despite shooting 59.1 percent from the floor in the first stanza, the Eagles were hampered by a dismal 15 first-half turnovers which held them to just 22 shots. The Eagles turned the ball over just nine times in the second period, only to shoot 37.5 percent from the floor.

To overcome their offensive woes, the Eagles out-rebounded UWP 38-23 and forced the Rangers into foul trouble. USI shot 21 free throws in the second period, converting 18 of those attempts. In the final 11 minutes of the contest, the Eagles converted 16 points from the charity stripe.

Offensively, the Eagles were led by senior forward Shannon Wells (Merrillville, Indiana), who missed the previous two games with a shoulder injury. Wells scored 16 points, including nine points in USI’s 25-5 run, to lead USI to its second victory over the Rangers this season.

Wells’ play received some praise from Stein, who has come to expect these type’s of performances out of his senior.

“If you have ever seen a player that has more passion and more heart than Shannon, I want to find her because I want to recruit her,” Stein said of USI’s leading scorer Thursday night. “You come to expect things from her with her emotion, toughness, and intensity.”

Wells led four USI players that scored in double figures Thursday night. Junior guard Jamie Truitt (Owensboro, Kentucky) scored 13 points and grabbed a game-high tying seven rebounds, while freshman point guard Lauren Parrish (Shepherdsville, Kentucky) and junior forward/center Andrea Engleking (Charlottesville, Indiana) each chipped in 10 points. Engleking also had six rebounds for the Eagles.

UWP, which shot just 1-of-8 from behind the arc and 5-of-14 from the free throw line in the second half, was led by Kromm’s 19 points and sophomore guard Carrie Schieve’s 13 points. The GLVC’s leading rebounder, junior forward Jen Braier, grabbed seven boards.

USI, which entered the NCAA II Great Lakes Regional Rankings at number eight, will head to Rensselaer, Indiana, this Saturday, January 31, to take on Saint Joseph’s College. SJC (5-13, 2-10 GLVC) is coming off a heart-breaking 80-75 overtime loss to Kentucky Wesleyan College.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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