Haithcock posts career-high 31 points in USI’s road win


ST. CHARLES, Mo. – University of Southern Indiana Women’s Basketball picked up a 73-60 road win at Lindenwood University on Thursday behind a career-best 31 points from senior forward Hannah Haithcock (Washington Court House, Ohio).

Haithcock surpassed her previous career-high of 25 points, which she set earlier this season on December 31 at Eastern Illinois University. Thursday’s game was the third time this season that Haithcock set a new career mark. Haithcock became the seventh different Ohio Valley Conference player to tally 30 or more points in a game this season and put forth the ninth overall 30-point performance from an OVC player. Plus, Haithcock became the first USI player to score 30 or more in a game since current assistant coach Emma DeHart posted 39 points at Rockhurst University on February 6, 2021.

The Screaming Eagles got off to a strong start in the first quarter of the game. USI jumped out to a 5-0 advantage after senior guard Tori Handley (Jeffersonville, Indiana) stole the basketball and scored an open-floor layup. USI went up 7-0 before Lindenwood scored its first points of the contest.

With under a minute remaining in the first, junior guard Lexie Green (Indianapolis, Indiana) made a layup while drawing a foul, cashing in on a three-point play by making the free throw, and giving USI a 23-11 lead. The Screaming Eagles’ defense had five steals in the first period, and offensively, six USI players found the scoring column through a balanced attack. USI led 23-13 going to the second quarter.

After a slow start, the Lions chipped away at the Screaming Eagles’ lead in the second frame. Lindenwood went on an 11-0 run between the end of the first quarter and the start of the second quarter, drawing to within a point of USI, 23-22. Southern Indiana turned to Haithcock to snap the run, scoring at the basket with 7:06 remaining in the second period. Haithcock recorded back-to-back buckets, scoring another basket a minute later to give USI a 27-22 lead.

Following the five-minute mark of the second, both teams went on a scoring drought that lasted just over three minutes. Haithcock snapped USI’s scoreless skid with another make, giving her 10 points in the game with 1:46 left in the first half and putting USI in front, 29-25. Haithcock finished with 12 first-half points, as USI went into halftime ahead by one, 31-30.

Lindenwood’s momentum from the second quarter carried over into the beginning of the third period. The Lions began the third with six unanswered points to grab a 36-31 lead. Once again, Haithcock came through for USI to end the Lions’ run, capitalizing on a three-point play. Midway into the third, Lindenwood led 41-36 before Southern Indiana went on an 11-0 scoring run to retake the lead.

Sophomore guard Vanessa Shafford (Linton, Indiana) put USI back in front, 43-41, during the scoring run with a strong drive to the basket and 2:28 left in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Haithcock continued her strong third period to push USI’s lead to six points, 49-43, with under a minute left in the third. Haithcock scored 15 points in the third frame, matching a career-best 25 total points by the end of the quarter. USI took a 49-44 lead to the fourth quarter.

Haithcock passed her previous career mark on a made jumper along the baseline with 8:35 remaining in the fourth quarter, giving USI a 51-44 lead. However, Lindenwood continued to fight back, cutting the lead back down to four, 55-51, halfway into the fourth period. With 3:55 left, the Lions got within two of the Screaming Eagles, 55-53, before Haithcock hit another jumper seconds later to put USI back up by four. Lindenwood responded with a three-pointer to make the score a one-point contest, 57-56.

After the three-minute mark of the fourth, Southern Indiana was able to separate from Lindenwood and build some cushion on the scoreboard. USI went back up by seven, 63-56, after consecutive three-pointers from Shafford and senior forward Tara Robbe (Wildwood, Missouri). Haithcock connected once more with 1:27 left to make the score 65-58 USI before Southern Indiana closed out the game and the 73-60 win by knocking down eight free throws inside the final minute.

Haithcock collected her 31 points on 13-19 shooting and going 5-for-5 at the foul line. She also had eight rebounds. Shafford posted 12 points with six rebounds and four assists, hitting four shots from the field and two from three. Robbe was third in scoring with eight points. USI had eight players find the scoring column, and three different players recorded three steals each. Southern Indiana went 26-for-56 for 46.4 percent overall, 17-for-20 for 85 percent at the stripe, and made four triples. USI outrebounded Lindenwood 34-31.

Lindenwood was led on the night by sophomore guard Mary McGrath’s 19 points. Graduate guard Devin Fuhring had 16 points and senior guard Emily Benzschawel scored 14 points. The Lions were 22-51 for 43.1 percent from the floor, 10-for-17 for 58.8 percent at the line, and made six three-pointers in the game.

With the win, USI’s record improved to 9-9 this season and 3-4 in OVC play. The win was Southern Indiana’s third road victory this season. For Lindenwood, the Lions’ record dropped to 1-17 overall and 0-7 in OVC action.

The Screaming Eagles will continue the road swing Saturday at 1 p.m. when USI takes on Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

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