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February 07, 2009

Eagles win double-overtime thriller

at Southern Indiana (12-9, 5-7 GLVC): 90
Drury (15-7, 9-3 GLVC): 86
Box Score (2 ot)

EVANSVILLE, Ind.University of Southern Indiana Head Coach Rick Stein's 100th career victory at the Physical Activities Center will go down as one of the best as his Screaming Eagles defeated Drury University, 90-86, Saturday afternoon in a double-overtime thriller.

Ninette Evans

Senior forward/center Ninette Evans (Memphis, Tennessee) had a lay-up and a blocked shot in the final 30 seconds of the second overtime period; then sophomore guard Amie Newhart (Mulberry, Indiana) drained a pair of free throws with five ticks left on the clock to give USI the crucial four-point home victory over the visiting Panthers.

The Eagles (12-9, 5-7 GLVC) dominated much of the game, running up a 13-point lead in the first period and a 17-point advantage in the second half. However, USI could not shake Drury as the Panthers roared back to tie the contest at the end of regulation.

Drury (15-7, 9-3 GLVC) had an opportunity at the end of regulation to come away with the victory, but the Eagles' defense, behind one of four blocks by Evans, held its ground to force an extra frame.

Brittany Neuman

Behind a strong performance from senior forward/center Brittany Neuman (Huntingburg, Indiana), the Eagles went toe-to-toe with the defending GLVC champions for another five minutes. Neuman scored half of USI's eight points in the first overtime period to keep USI a step ahead of Drury.

Still, the Eagles needed another defensive stand in the final 10 seconds of the extra frame to force a second overtime period. The Eagles forced Drury guard Ja'Nell Jones into a desperation three-point attempt and Evans corralled the rebound to keep the score tied at 76 and send the contest into another five-minute period.

Neuman took over in the second overtime, scoring eight of her game-high 25 points in the period before fouling out with 42 seconds to play.

With the score tied at 86, Evans used a feed from sophomore guard Lauren Meneghetti (Munster, Indiana) to hit an uncontested lay-up and give the Eagles a one-possession lead.

On the next possession, Evans blocked Jones's base-line jumper and grabbed the ball before giving it off to Newhart with 5.3 seconds left in the game. Newhart, who was promptly fouled, hit a pair of free throws to seal the victory for the Eagles.

The victory, which keeps the Eagles in sole possession of third place in the GLVC West Division, snapped Drury's four-game winning streak with the victory.

Ellen Young

In addition to Neuman's 25 points, the Southridge High School graduate brought down a game-high 12 rebounds. Sophomore guard Ellen Young (Salem, Illinois) scored 22 points, 20 of which came in regulation, and dished out five assists.

Newhart added 16 points and four assists, while Evans finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. Meneghetti chipped in nine points and finished with a game and career-high eight assists.

Junior guard/forward Lindsay Ballweg led the Panthers with 24 points and five assists, while Jones tallied 20 points and five steals. Junior forward/center Melanie Oliver added 15 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.

The Eagles return to action Wednesday when they host Lake Erie College in their final non-conference regular-season contest. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. at the PAC.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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