USI Women’s Hoops Start Busy Stretch Saturday

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University of Southern Indiana Women’s Basketball begins a busy stretch of games Saturday at noon (CST) when it visits the University of Indianapolis for a Great Lakes Valley Conference East Division contest. The Screaming Eagles return to Screaming Eagles Arena Monday at 5:30 p.m. to host McKendree University.

USI (9-2, 3-0 GLVC) also hosts the University of Illinois Springfield next Thursday (January 20) at 5:30 p.m. before finishing its four-games-in-eight-day stretch when it hosts Lewis University for its annual Hoops for Troops Military Appreciation Day January 22 (1 p.m.).

All four games are scheduled to be aired live the GLVC Sports Network and 95.7 The Spin, while live stats, audio and video can be accessed at GoUSIEagles.com.

USI Women’s Basketball Notes

• Short-handed Eagles rally past Bearcats. Despite missing four players, including its leading scorer, top two point guards and a key reserve, USI Women’s Basketball rallied from a six-point third-quarter deficit to defeat Southwest Baptist, 79-74, last Saturday.

• Hunter steps up in big way. Fifth-year senior guard Ashley Hunter came up huge in USI’s win over Southwest Baptist as she scored an NCAA career-high 23 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. She scored 10 fourth-quarter points and came down with a huge offensive rebound before hitting a pair of game-clinching free throws in the final six seconds of the contest.

• Other top performers. In addition to Hunter, the Eagles got 14 points and nine rebounds from senior forward Ashlyn Brown as well as 14 points and eight rebounds from sophomore forward Meredith Raley. Freshman guard Vanessa Shafford added 12 points, six rebounds, three assists and two blocks to USI’s cause, while fifth-year senior guard Emma DeHart had eight points.

• Different lineup. Saturday’s game against Southwest Baptist marked the first change to USI’s starting lineup this season as the Eagles were missing two starters due to health and safety protocols.

• Another busy stretch. While USI’s first attempt at playing four games in seven days ended with three cancellations and a win, the Eagles will once again try to fit a lot of games into a small window as they are slated to play four games in eight days, beginning with their trip to Indianapolis to take on the Greyhounds Saturday. USI finishes GLVC East Division play next week when it hosts McKendree Monday evening, Illinois Springfield January 20 and Lewis January 22.

• USI receiving votes outside Top 25. The Eagles are receiving votes in the latest D2SIDA Top 25 Media Poll and the WBCA Division II Top 25 Coaches’ Poll.

• Stein closing in on 400. USI Head Coach Rick Stein, whose been on the sidelines for 556 of USI’s 704 wins as an assistant and head coach, is just three wins away from his 400th career victory.

• Season Leaders. USI has four players averaging in double-figures in the scoring column and six averaging at least 9.5 points or better. Junior forward Hannah Haithcock and DeHart lead the way with 12.6 and 11.4 points per game, respectively, while Raley and junior guard Addy Blackwell are respectively contributing 11.1 and 10.1 points per outing. Hunter is averaging 9.6 points per appearance, while Brown is adding 9.5 points and a team-high 6.4 rebounds per contest. Blackwell leads USI with 2.7 assists and 2.1 steals per appearance, while Haithcock is averaging a team-high 0.5 blocks per game.

• Big leads. The Eagles have jumped out to leads of at least nine points in 10 of their first 12 games and have had no less than a 17-point cushion represent its largest lead in eight of their first 11 contests.

• DeHart reaches milestone. DeHart became the 19th player in program history to record 1,000 career points in the first half of USI’s 90-78 win over West Texas A&M. She entered the game in need of 13 points to reach the milestone and finished with a game-high 24.

• Blackwell’s big week. Blackwell followed a career-high 17-point effort in USI’s win over West Texas A&M with another career-high, this time a 22-point performance in USI’s loss to Tampa. Blackwell connected on an eye-popping 70.6 percent (12-17) of her shots, including 83.3 percent (10-12) of her three-point attempts.

• Double-figures. USI has already had seven different players reach double-figures in the scoring column this year, all of whom have scored 10-or-more points in multiple games.

• 20-point outings. USI has had three different players reach the 20-point plateau in the last three games—one in each contest—after having just one 20-point performance in the first eight games. DeHart has reached the 20-point plateau twice this season, while Blackwell and Hunter also scored 20-or-more points this season.

• About Indianapolis. The Greyhounds (4-7, 1-2 GLVC) had all three of their games canceled last week due to health and safety protocols and visiting McKendree Thursday for their first game since defeating regional foe Ferris State, 78-66, on December 31. Junior guard/forward Sadie Hill averages 14.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game to lead UIndy, which lost to USI, 79-62, at Screaming Eagles Arena in November. Senior guard Taylor Drury chips in 13.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

• About McKendree. The Bearcats are 1-10 overall and 0-4 in GLVC play following a 79-55 home loss to Truman State last Saturday. Sophomore guard Christy Fortune averages 12.0 points and 6.6 rebounds per game to lead McKendree, which is looking to stop a six-game skid. McKendree hosts UIndy Thursday before visiting Lewis Saturday.

• About Illinois Springfield. The Prairie Stars are 7-3 overall and 2-2 in GLVC play after falling to No. 1 Drury, 65-54, last week in Springfield, Illinois. Junior guard Lauren Ladowski averages a team-high 16.7 points for UIS, which had an eight-point road win over Bradley last month. Sophomore guard Malea Jackson and junior forward Ellie Mitchell respectively average 11.0 and 10.0 points per contest for the Stars, who visit Lindenwood Thursday before hosting Missouri-St. Louis Saturday and Maryville Monday.

• About Lewis. The Flyers are 3-9 overall and 1-3 in GLVC play after losing a pair of GLVC road games to Truman State and top-ranked Drury last week. Junior guard Grace Hilber and sophomore forward Kathryn Schmidt respectively average 16.0 and 15.8 points per game for Lewis, which is scheduled to play Lindenwood and Indianapolis next week before visiting USI. Schmidt leads the Flyers with 7.1 rebounds per appearance.

• Record book watch. The Eagles have two players making moves inside the USI Women’s Basketball Record Books:
Emma DeHart is No. 5 on USI’s all-time list for three-point field goal attempts (378), ranks No. 10 in made three-pointers (116) and No. 18 in points (1,030).
Hannah Haithcock is No. 45 on USI’s all-time scoring list (604).

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