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February 25, 2006

Eagles lose lead, GLVC Tournament chance

Missouri-St. Louis (16-11, 9-10 GLVC): 61
@Southern Indiana (15-15, 7-12 GLVC): 56

EVANSVILLE, Ind.The University of Southern Indiana women's basketball team saw a 12-point second-half lead evaporate as the University of Missouri-St. Louis defeated the Screaming Eagles, 61-56, Saturday afternoon at the Physical Activities Center.

USI (15-15, 7-12 GLVC) led 34-22 with just over 15 minutes to play in the game, but a 23-11 run that lasted nearly nine minutes lifted the Riverwomen to a tie with 6:34 remaining on the clock.

UMSL senior guard Crystal Lambert scorched the Eagles in the second half, knocking down three shots from behind the arc and scoring 17 of her game-high 19 points in the final 20 minutes. Her three-pointer with 5:20 remaining in the contest, gave the Riverwomen a slim one-point advantage and their first lead since early in the first half. USI led at the half, 24-17.

With the Eagles staked to a one-point lead with less than four minutes remaining in regulation, sophomore guard Courtney Watts drove the lane and connected on a layup while being fouled by USI freshman point guard Keisha Collins (South Holland, Illinois). Watts converted the three-point play to give the Riverwomen a lead (55-53) they would not relinquish.

Meanwhile, the Eagles struggled from the field in the final four minutes of the game. USI connected on just 1-of-7 from the floor, 0-of-4 from three-point range, in the final four minutes. The Eagles also missed a pair of free throws and had two turnovers in the last four minutes.

USI, which lost for just the second time this season when leading at the half, had three players finish in double figures, with Collins and senior forward Ashley Green (Otterbein, Indiana) leading the way with 11 points each. Green finished her career at USI ranked 11th in career rebounds (493) and fifth in career steals (180).

Sophomore forward Jasmine Baines (Jeffersonville, Indiana) finished with 10 points, while senior guard Tiara Brown (Normal, Illinois) had with five points in her final game in a USI uniform. Both Brown and Green were honored before the game as part of the Senior Day festivities.

UMSL (16-11, 9-10 GLVC), which clinched the final wild card spot in the GLVC Tournament, got 12 points from junior forward Megan Alberts and 11 points from junior forward Jennifer Dewell. The Riverwomen will take on Northern Kentucky University in the first round of the GLVC Tournament Thursday at Roberts Stadium in Evansville.

Dan McDonnell,
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