When Davis & Elkins College freshman guard Stephanie Wooten scored a basket to give the Senators a 2-0 lead, the Eagles found themselves down early at the Physical Activities Center (PAC).
The deficit didn’t last long, as Southern Indiana followed with a 16-0 run, capped by a Jessica Parker three-pointer, to cruise past Davis & Elkins 96-68.
“I just try to keep focusing on if I’m open, shoot it,” Parker said. “I just try to focus on what I can control.”
Parker ended up with 16 points, shooting 5 of 9 from three-point range while adding a point from the free throw line. She wasn’t alone in double-figure scoring for the Eagles (2-0), however.
Juniors Anna Hackert and Mary O’Keefe added 15 and 11 points respectively for USI, rounding out the scorers to double digits.
“We had really good balance,” Parker said.
Balance was a crucial to the game, with the Davis & Elkins game plan featuring a rotation of players off the bench every two minutes of game time.
“We watched tape on them so we knew every two minutes, five new players would be in,” O’Keefe said. “That team was very aggressive.”
For the majority of the game though, it was USI that showed more aggressive tendencies. The Eagles took control of the game early, something Head Coach Rick Stein was looking for coming into the game.
“They are used to controlling tempo,” Stein said. “We really controlled the flow of the game.”
The control of the game started on defense for Stein’s squad, forcing bad passes by the Senators that were then turned into transitional scoring opportunities.
“I thought we were really working. We got deflections early,” Stein said. “You got to put players in position to be successful and they have to make plays. We really got some things going in transition. I thought our team handled their pressure really well.”
The Eagles tempo also forced Davis & Elkins into early foul trouble, and by the time the first half was over, the Senators had compiled 21 fouls compared to the nine called against USI.
“We pushed the ball,” senior guard Ariel Barnes said.
The fouls against the Senators put the Eagles at the free throw line often during the game, and USI cashed in shooting 28-39 for 71 percent.
Barnes said the team’s free throw shooting could be better. The team’s goal this season is to shoot over 75 percent from the charity stripe for the game.
“We’ve put an emphasis on (free throw shooting),” Barnes said.
USI continues its home stand at the PAC Friday, when it welcomes Salem International to campus for a 6 p.m. tip off.