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November 15, 2008

Eagles fall to Abilene Christian in season-opener

Abilene Christian (1-0): 80
Southern Indiana (0-1): 53
Box Score

AUSTIN, Texas—The University of Southern Indiana women's basketball team was held to 27.1 percent from the field and 17.6 percent from behind the arc as it suffered an 80-53 setback to a tough Abilene Christian University squad in its 2008-09 season-opener Saturday afternoon in the St. Edwards University Shootout.

USI (0-1) had trouble with Abilene Christian's inside presence throughout the game as the Wildcats out-rebounded the Screaming Eagles 49-39 and out-scored the USI 40-20 in the paint.

"We're going to have to do a better job of blocking out," Head Coach Rick Stein said. "They were a more physical team and they controlled the paint."

The Eagles found themselves in a closely-contested game eight minutes into the first half, but turnovers and missed opportunities cost the Eagles as Abilene Christian turned a 17-14 advantage into a 43-26 cushion in the last 11 minutes of the opening period.

"We played a really good team today," Stein said. "They are an experienced team that made us pay for every mistake we made.

"I can't tell you how many times we missed easy shots," Stein explained. "It seemed like we made half-a-dozen turnovers and missed half-a-dozen layups in the last 10 minutes of the first half."

The turnovers hampered the Eagles' efforts as the Wildcats (1-0), who shot 46.2 percent from the field, turned 20 USI miscues into 19 points, 12 of which came in the first half.

Ellen Young

Despite the mistakes, not all was bad for the Eagles in their first regular-season contest. Sophomore guard Ellen Young (Salem, Illinois) had 11 points and three rebounds after missing a couple weeks with an ankle injury, while fellow classmate Amie Newhart (Mulberry, Indiana) had eight points and six assists.

Brittany Neuman

Senior forward/center Brittany Neuman (Huntingburg, Indiana) came off the bench to match Young's team-high 11 points and pull down a team-best nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Lauren Meneghetti (Munster, Indiana) and freshman guard Rinesha Soaper (Henderson, Kentucky) also played key roles for the Eagles off the bench. Meneghetti finished the game with 10 points, four rebounds, and three assists, while Soaper had nine points and two rebounds in her first regular-season collegiate contest.

"Our bench play did some good things for us today," Stein said. "It's a good thing when your bench can come in and give you 30 points."

The Eagles also did a good job of getting to the free throw line and converting those opportunities into points as they went 18-of-21 (85.7 percent) from the charity stripe. Young went 6-of-6 from the line, while Neuman and Soaper combined for an 8-of-10 performance at the free throw line.

USI returns to action Sunday when it takes on Southeastern Oklahoma State University at 1 p.m. in Austin, Texas.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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