EVANSVILLE, Ind. – University of Southern Indiana Women’s Basketball claimed a 90-48 win Wednesday against Brescia University (Ky.) in the Screaming Eagles’ non-conference finale before the holidays and leading up to the start of the Ohio Valley Conference season.
A slow offensive start for both sides led to a competitive game early in the first quarter. Brescia knocked down a pair of three-pointers in the opening minutes, while USI was earning trips to the charity stripe after attacking the paint.
USI led 15-10 with 3:42 left in the first period. Then the Screaming Eagles established strong play inside with the post players. After the first, senior forward Hannah Haithcock (Washington Courthouse, Ohio) had 12 points, while graduate forward Ashlynn Brown (Perrysburg, Ohio) had nine. Additionally, the nation’s most efficient three-point shooter, sophomore guard Vanessa Shafford (Linton, Indiana), canned a couple of triples in the first.
With USI leading 33-10 after the first quarter, an 18-0 run by the Screaming Eagles to finish the first carried over into the start of the second period. Brescia snapped its scoring drought and USI’s scoring run at 28-0 on a basket with 6:55 remaining in the second quarter.
The offenses cooled off toward the tail end of the second quarter, leading to a 51-20 advantage for USI at halftime. USI’s Ohio forwards in Haithcock and Brown tallied 32 of USI’s 51 first-half points.
USI utilized space away from the basket early in the third quarter. A minute in the third, Shafford drained a three to crossover into double figures, giving USI a 54-20 lead. Near the six-minute mark, junior forward Meredith Raley (Haubstadt, Indiana) connected on a jumper before senior guard Tori Handley (Jeffersonville, Indiana) cashed in from downtown. The jump shots pushed USI’s lead to 61-24.
After being held to single digits for the first time of the season on Sunday in Cincinnati, Raley started a new streak of reaching double figures Wednesday night on a layup with 5:12 left in the third. USI went on to take a 71-34 lead to the fourth quarter.
Southern Indiana continued to space the floor to start the fourth. Senior guard Soffia Rieckers (Evansville, Indiana) swished in a triple only seconds into the fourth, and a minute later, Handley nailed her second three of the game. USI led 79-34 after Handley’s three-pointer.
Midway into the fourth quarter, Brescia put together a 9-0 run off a charge led by senior forward Lindsey Peyton. Peyton was Brescia’s leading scorer on the night with 11 points.
For USI, senior guard Lexi Thompson (Lafayette, Indiana) found her way into the scoring fun for the Screaming Eagles. Thompson, who finished with 12 points, posted seven of her 12 points in the final frame.
Southern Indiana had five players score 10 or more in the contest. Haithcock led all scorers with a career-high 24 points on 9-16 shooting. Plus, she grabbed a career-tying 13 rebounds to secure her eighth career double double. It was Haithcock’s seventh career 20-point performance and third of the season. Brown recorded 19 points with eight rebounds, going 9-12 from the field. Shafford and Raley each had 11 points. The last time USI had five players reach double figures was January 20, 2022, against the University of Illinois Springfield.
Overall, USI shot 35-81 for 43.2 percent. The Screaming Eagles hit eight threes and went 12-for-13 at the line. Southern Indiana outrebounded Brescia 53-30, including 21 offensive rebounds. USI also had 28 assists, 46 points in the paint, and 22 second-chance points.
Brescia was 17-50 for 34 percent with three triples and 11-18 at the stripe. The Bearcats had 12 takeaways.
The Screaming Eagles will next prepare for the start of the OVC season after the holidays. On December 29, USI will open the OVC season at Screaming Eagles Arena against Southeast Missouri State University for a 5 p.m. tip-off time.