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February 01, 2002

#8 Eagles looking to get back on track against UMSL

The last time the University of Southern Indiana women’s basketball team lost to Bellarmine University, it came back to win 15 consecutive games and made its way to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. Once again, the Screaming Eagles find themselves coming back from a loss to Bellarmine, one that snapped a 10-game overall winning streak and a 24-game home winning streak.

First up for the eighth-ranked Eagles is the University of Missouri-St. Louis, a team USI has defeated three consecutive times. The two teams hooked up in St. Louis, Missouri over the Thanksgiving break, with USI notching a 69-60 victory over the Riverwomen.

This time, UMSL enters the Physical Activities Center, a place USI has dominated over the last two seasons. USI has posted a 24-1 record at the PAC in the last two seasons and in 23 of those 25 games, it has posted a double-digit win margin.

USI, which enters Saturday’s game with a 17-4 overall record and a 10-3 record against Great Lakes Valley Conference opposition, is 6-2 all-time against UMSL at the PAC. UMSL has not won at the PAC since December 1, 1989, when it defeated the Eagles 78-69.

In their previous meeting with the Riverwomen, back in November, the Eagles used a 21-7 run to overcome an eight-point halftime deficit and take a 56-42 lead with 11:37 to play. USI never surrendered that lead as it went on to the 69-60 win.

The Eagles shot a dismal 25.6 percent in that first half, but shot 50.0 percent from the floor and knocked down 5-of-7 from behind the arc in the second half. They also forced UMSL into 31 turnovers.

Senior guard Jasmine Moore (Chicago, Illinois) and sophomore forward Jessica Stuckman (Quincy, Illinois) led the Eagles in the first meeting with UMSL. Moore had a team-high 15 points while Stuckman dropped in 13 points and a team-leading 10 rebounds.

Stuckman enters Saturday’s contest with a conference-best 20.5 points per game and is leading the team with 6.9 rebounds per contest. Moore is second on the squad with 13.4 points per outing and leads the team with 4.3 assists and 3.4 steals per game.

The Eagles also will need solid performances out of senior forward Casey Hughes (Bicknell, Indiana) and junior forward/center Africa Sherrod (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida). Sherrod is averaging 12.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while Hughes is tapping in with 10.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per contest.

Leading the way for the Riverwomen is senior forward Lynette Wellen and junior guard Sophia Ruffin. Wellen scored nine points and brought down a game-high 13 rebounds in the first meeting and leads the Riverwomen with 12.5 points per game. Ruffin knocked down a game-high 24 points against the Eagles in the first meeting and is averaging 11.1 points and a team-high 3.1 assists per game.

UMSL, which enters Saturday’s contest with a 7-12 overall record and a 4-9 GLVC record, is also getting production from junior guard/forward Christy Lane and junior forward/center Jessica Woods. Lane is second on the team with 12.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per outing while Woods is leading the team with 7.9 rebounds per contest.

Saturday’s contest is homecoming for the Eagles. Game time is scheduled for 5:15 p.m.

Dan McDonnell,
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