Haithcock, Eagles top Tritons for fifth straight win

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Freshman forward Hannah Haithcock scored a career-high 21 points as University of Southern Indiana Women’s Basketball held off a second-half rally to earn a 64-54 Great Lakes Valley Conference victory over the University of Missouri-St. Louis on Homecoming Saturday afternoon at Screaming Eagles Arena.

Haithcock went 9-of-16 from the field and 3-of-5 from three-point range, all while grabbing seven rebounds, as the Screaming Eagles ran their winning streak to a season-best five straight games.

The Eagles (16-6, 12-4 GLVC) dominated the contest early, outscoring the Tritons 18-9 in the opening period. USI held the Tritons to just three first-quarter field goals and led by as much as 14 midway through the second quarter before Missouri-St. Louis started mounting a comeback.

Missouri-St. Louis (12-13, 7-9 GLVC) used a 12-2 run to cut the Eagles’ advantage to just four points, but a three-pointer by Haithcock and a buzzer-beating basket by senior guard Ashley Johnson sent the Eagles into the break with a 34-25 halftime advantage.

USI extended its lead to 11 points with just under four minutes remaining in the third quarter, but a 16-5 Tritons run saw the Eagles’ advantage slip to just one point with six-and-a-half minutes remaining in the contest.

Freshman forward Tara Robbe’s layup 45 seconds later stopped the Tritons’ rally, while a pair of Johnson free throws with just over five minutes to play in the game gave USI a 52-45 cushion.

The Tritons got a three-pointer from Danielle Berry to trim USI’s lead to just two points a minute later, but a layup by junior guard Emma DeHart with just under four minutes on the clock gave USI a 54-50 advantage.

Johnson followed 30 seconds later with an old-fashioned three-point play to extend the Eagles’ cushion to seven points, while a Haithcock basket with just under three-minutes on the clock gave the Eagles a 59-51 lead.

Missouri-St. Louis got another three-pointer from Berry with two minutes remaining to cut the Eagles’ advantage to five, but the Eagles went 5-of-8 from the free throw line in the final two minutes to preserve the win.

In addition to Haithcock, the Eagles got 11 points from Johnson as well as nine points and three steals from freshman guard Addy Blackwell. Senior guard Kiara Moses finished with eight points, eight rebounds and three assists, while sophomore forward Ashlynn Brown had seven points and a career-high 12 rebounds for the Eagles, who out-rebounded the Tritons, 44-41.

McKenzie Lathrom had 12 points to pace the Tritons, who were held to just 29.0 percent (20-69) from the field and 29.2 percent (7-24) from three-point range.

The Eagles return to action Thursday at 5:30 p.m. when they travel to Springfield, Illinois, to take on the University of Illinois Springfield in a GLVC contest. USI is back at Screaming Eagles Arena next Saturday for their annual Play4Kay game as well as the NCAA Division II Showcase game against Lewis University.

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