EVANSVILLE, Ind. - After a slow start in the opening half, the University of Evansville women's basketball team recovered to post a 65-47 win over visiting Southern Indiana in its first and only exhibition game of the year Saturday afternoon at the Ford Center.
Senior Taylor Ware led all scorers with 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Purple Aces, while fellow senior Meagan Collins also scored in double figures with 13 points, hitting five of her six field goal attempts. Senior Samantha Heck was just one point shy of a double-double, as she brought down a game-high 15 rebounds and tallied nine points.
Southern Indiana led for much of the first half, pushing its lead to six points on three occasions in the opening stanza. Mary O'Keefe gave USI a 18-12 lead with just over nine and a half minutes into the contest by making one of two free throw attempts and Libby Ogden's bucket at the 5:33 mark put the Eagles up 27-21.
Ware sank a pair of free throws with 3:56 remaining in the half to trim the margin to 27-26, marking the last time that USI would have the lead. Evansville closed the half on a 7-2 run to take a 33-29 lead into the locker room.
UE continued its run into the second half, as the Aces pushed their lead to 11 at 41-30 on a Ware layup with 17:07 remaining in the contest. Southern Indiana trimmed the lead to seven on a three-pointer by Brierra Young with just over 10 minutes, but the Eagles would get no closer, as Evansville pulled away late.
The Aces put the game away with three-straight triples with just over two minutes to go, as Kat Taylor buried a three at the 2:19 mark and Katie Ellerson hit back-to-back treys to extend UE's margin to 63-45 with 1:16 left on the clock.
After Southern Indiana connected on 12 of its 30 shots in the first half, Evansville's defense limited the Eagles to just six buckets in the second half on 27 attempts for a 22.2 percent clip. Meanwhile, UE shot 10-for-23 in the second half, including a 5-for-10 effort from behind the three-point line.
The Aces outscored USI, 30-18, inside the paint and outrebounded the Eagles, 38-35, while creating 21 Southern Indiana turnovers. Evansville also hit 85 percent of its free throw opportunities, going 17-for-20 at the charity stripe.
Anna Hackert recorded a double-double to lead USI, as she tallied 12 points and 10 rebounds. Taylor Stevenson added eight points for the Eagles in the losing effort.
The Purple Aces will open the regular season, Friday, Nov. 9, when they travel to Ball State. The game is slated to begin at 7 p.m. from John E. Worthen Arena in Muncie, Ind.