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Women's Basketball

January 31, 2009

Eagles hold off Miners,
Pick up huge road win

Southern Indiana (11-8, 4-6 GLVC): 79
at Missouri S&T (9-10, 3-8 GLVC): 75
Box Score

ROLLA, Mo.The University of Southern Indiana women's basketball team went wire-to-wire as it held off a late second-half rally to defeat the Missouri University of Science and Technology, 79-75, Saturday afternoon and strengthen its hold on third place in the GLVC West Division.

"We knew coming in that we were playing for third place in the West Division," Head Coach Rick Stein said. "If S&T wins, they've got it. If we win, we keep it. We knew what we were playing for and to do it on the road against a team we haven't beaten before showed how much heart and determination we had."

USI (11-8, 4-6 GLVC), which defeated the Miners for the first time in women's basketball, came out of the gates firing on all cylinders as it grabbed a quick 5-0 lead.

Behind a sharp first-half shooting performance, the Screaming Eagles used runs of 7-0 and 17-2 to build a commanding 44-24 lead with 2:27 to play in the opening period. The Eagles shot 54.8 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes as they went into the break with a 46-32 advantage.

Missouri S&T (9-10, 3-8 GLVC), however, fought back in the second half, using a 55.2 percent shooting clip to chip away at the Eagles' lead.

The Miners cut the 14-point halftime deficit to eight points early in the second half, but the Eagles held them at bay. "They really kept fighting, but every time they made a run, we pushed back," Stein said.

Ninette Evans

Behind senior forward/center Ninette Evans (Memphis, Tennessee), the Eagles extended their lead to 15 points (63-48) with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game. Evans scored six of her eight second-half points in the 8-1 run that swung momentum back into the Eagles' favor.

"I'm really proud of our seniors," Stein said. "They really showed a lot of heart and leadership to help us grab a victory today."

Still, the Eagles could not shake the home team as the Miners continued to chip away at USI's lead. Missouri S&T eventually chiseled the Eagles' advantage to just two points with three minutes to play, but another bucket by Evans, who finished with 11 points, gave the Eagles a critical two-possession lead (70-66) with 2:47 to play.

Ellen Young

USI got a layup from sophomore guard Ellen Young (Salem, Illinois) to go up 72-67 with 1:26 remaining on the clock, then connected on its last seven free throw attempts to preserve the four-point victory.

Young led the Eagles with 20 points and eight rebounds, while sophomore guard Amie Newhart (Mulberry, Indiana) added 14 points and four assists. Freshman guard Rinesha Soaper (Henderson, Kentucky) chipped in 13 points, 11 of which came in the opening period, while senior forward/center Brittany Neuman (Huntingburg, Indiana) contributed 10 points and a pair of steals.

Senior forward Tamara McCaskill led the Miners with a career-high 30 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

USI begins a three-game homestand Thursday at 5:15 p.m. when it hosts Quincy University at the Physical Activities Center. The Eagles also host Drury University next Saturday for homecoming.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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