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October 30, 2007

Eagles open exhibition season Thursday

Game Notes

EVANSVILLE, Ind.—The University of Southern Indiana women's basketball team opens the exhibition season Thursday at 6 p.m. (CDT) when it travels to South Bend, Indiana, to take on the University of Notre Dame.

Thursday's contest is the first time the Screaming Eagles will play the Fighting Irish in women's basketball and the first time since 1989 that the two schools have played each other in any sport—USI's softball team split a doubleheader with Notre Dame in 1989.

For the Eagles, it's a chance to play one of the top NCAA Division I programs as well as a chance to see how far they have come in their two-plus weeks of practice.

USI, which was 16-12 overall and 10-9 in the GLVC a year ago, features four returners from the 2006-07 squad, including All-GLVC performer Jasmine Baines (Jeffersonville, Indiana). Baines, a senior forward, has averaged nearly 13 points and more than five rebounds per game in two seasons at USI.

Head Coach Rick Stein, who needs just 17 wins to become the program's all-time winningest coach, brought in eight newcomers, including sophomore guard and Bosse High School graduate VaNita Smart (Evansville, Indiana). Smart spent her freshman season at Indiana University after a stellar career at BHS in which she scored more than 1,000 points in her career.

In addition to Smart, Stein added three junior college transfers and four freshmen.

Following their exhibition contest at Notre Dame, the Eagles open the regular season November 17 when they host the University of Illinois-Springfield.

Dan McDonnell,
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