USI to open season at Cedarville

Hannah Haithcock

Hannah Haithcock

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — University of Southern Indiana Women’s Basketball opens the 2021-22 season Friday at 4:30 p.m. (CST) when it takes on Ohio Dominican University at the Midwest Region Crossover in Cedarville, Ohio. The Screaming Eagles also take on host Cedarville Saturday at 3:15 p.m. (CST) to finish their opening weekend.

USI is coming off a COVID-19-shortened 2020-21 campaign that saw it go 11-5 in Great Lakes Valley Conference play. The Eagles won the Great Lakes Valley Conference East Division title and secured the No. 3 seed in the GLVC Tournament; but the Eagles’ post-season, along with seven regular-season games and a potential NCAA II Tournament berth, were taken away due to COVID-19 protocols.

The Eagles return 11 players and all five starters from last year’s team, including fifth-year senior guards Emma DeHart (Indianapolis, Indiana) and Ashley Hunter (Flossmoor, Illinois). DeHart averaged a team-high 16.1 points and 3.3 assists per game a year ago, earning first-team All-GLVC honors for her efforts, while Hunter contributed 8.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per appearance.

Also back is junior forward Hannah Haithcock (Washington Courthouse, Ohio), who was named second-team All-GLVC as a sophomore after averaging 12.0 points and a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game.

In addition to the 11 players returning, which represent 94.5 percent of last season’s scoring output and 91.9 percent of the Eagles’ rebounds in 2020-21, USI brings in five new players, including an NCAA Division I transfer in junior guard Tori Handley (Jeffersonville, Indiana) and a 2021 Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Senior Supreme 15 All-State award winner in freshman guard Vanessa Shafford (Linton, Indiana).

Handley made 22 career starts, averaging 4.0 points and 1.6 rebounds per game in 51 appearances for former GLVC member Southern Illinois University Edwardsville throughout the last two seasons, while Shafford averaged 18.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game as a senior to help lead Linton-Stockton High School to its second straight IHSAA Class 2A title.

USI’s games this weekend will be carried live on 95.7 The Spin, while live stats, audio and video can be accessed at Friday’s game will be the first time USI Women’s Basketball has played in front of fans since March 5, 2020 after last year’s games were played without fans in attendance.

Editor’s note: Article and photo courtesy of the University of Southern Indiana

Hannah Haithcock Haithcock