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January 29, 2008

Eagles have tough road ahead

Game Notes

EVANSVILLE, Ind.The University of Southern Indiana women's basketball team is in need of a victory, but it will not come easy as the Screaming Eagles return to the road to take on No. 7 Drury University Thursday at 5:45 p.m. in Springfield, Illinois, and Rockhurst University Saturday at 1 p.m. in Kansas City, Missouri.

Despite gaining second-half leads in their last six games, the Eagles (7-10, 2-7 GLVC) have managed to hold onto just one of those advantages by game's end.

USI, which has lost four straight games, had a 10-point lead against Quincy University with 10 minutes remaining in the game before falling to the Lady Hawks, 69-64, at the Physical Activities Center last Thursday.

The Eagles fought back from a 10-point deficit against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to grab a 68-67 lead late in the game last Saturday, but the Cougars prevailed, 73-70.

Part of the reason the Eagles have been so competitive is the play of senior forward Jasmine Baines (Jeffersonville, Indiana) and senior guard Marshay Jolly (Merrillville, Indiana). Baines is fifth in the GLVC with a team-high 18.0 points per game and is seventh in the league with 6.9 rebounds per contest.

Jolly is having a career season, averaging 6.9 points per game. Since USI returned to conference play against the University of Missouri-St. Louis on January 3, however, Jolly has averaged more than nine points and nearly four rebounds per contest.

USI trails Drury, 3-1, in the all-time series after splitting the season-series last year. The Eagles upended the Panthers, 73-63, in the first meeting at the PAC before Drury handed USI a 76-57 setback in the regular-season finale.

The Panthers (15-2, 7-2 GLVC) have won six straight games and 13 of their last 14. They defeated Saint Joseph's College, 70-47, in Rensselaer, Indiana, last Thursday before dropping the University of Indianapolis, 67-54, in Indianapolis, Indiana, last Saturday.

Drury has used a well-balanced scoring attack in its contests this season as four players are averaging better than 10 points per game. Sophomore forward/center Melanie Oliver, who transferred from Glenville State University after earning All-America honors last season, leads the Panthers with 12.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per contest. Senior guard Molly Carter leads Drury with 4.2 assists and is second on the team with 12.6 points per outing.

The Eagles will try to remain perfect against Rockhurst when they visit the Hawks Saturday. USI is 5-0 all-time against Rockhurst and 4-0 since 2000 after sweeping the season series a year ago. The Eagles defeated Rockhurst, 90-61, at the PAC before grabbing a 65-61 win in Kansas City.

Rockhurst (6-11, 1-8 GLVC) snapped a two-game skid as well as a 10-game GLVC losing streak when it defeated Saint Joseph's, 73-34, in Rensselaer last Saturday. The Hawks lost a hard-fought game, 62-59, at Indianapolis last Thursday.

Junior guard/forward Amy Hake leads the Hawks with 13.1 points per outing, while junior forward Julie Cook is chipping in 11.5 points as well as recording a team-high 6.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists per contest.

Dan McDonnell,
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