Lady Eagles take 37 point lead Saturday, continue Thanksgiving Classic today

Bradie Gray

The Lady Eagles extended its winning streak to five in a row Saturday afternoon with a hefty 88-51 lead over Harris-Stowe.

The team started the game with a 13-0 run and after that the Hornets didn’t stand a chance.

By halftime, the Eagles had a 22 point lead after shooting 42.9 percent from the field.

In the second half, they held both a 12-0 and 11-0 run, making sure the Hornets did not come close to the lead.

All 10 eligible players scored at least four points each and four of them scored in the double figures.

Guard/forward Kaydie Grooms and guard Randa Harshbarger – both freshmen – were stand-out players during the game.

Grooms led the Eagles with 19 points, scoring more than two of the team’s leading seniors Anna Hackert and Mary O’Keefe, who scored 10 points each.

Grooms credits her performance to the seniors.

“We have seven seniors, so we play with the best every single day, so we’re forced to step up or we’re going to get dominated everyday,” Grooms said. “They’re great and I think we’ve been able to perform well because of them.”

She said she was impressed with the team’s aggression Saturday and hopes it will prepare them for the remainder of the USI Thanksgiving Classic.

“Tomorrow, I think we have a little bit more of a better competition,” Grooms said Saturday. “I think today by getting out and getting aggressive will get us in the feel for tomorrow’s game.”

Harshbarger, like Grooms, thanked the seniors for her improvement.

“Our starting five go out there and play USI basketball to get the lead and the freshmen are then able to get in there and learn to maintain. Their leadership is what is teaching us,” Harshbarger said. “Throughout practice, they’re not afraid to get on us or yell at us if we’re doing something wrong so they’re very capable of putting us where we need to be.”

Harshbarger trailed Grooms in leading points with 10, along with Hackert and O’Keefe, and maintained composure despite the aggression from the opposing team.

“We just went out and instead of playing on their level, we played on our level. We played our basketball,” Harshbarger said.

Women’s head basketball coach Rick Stein said he feels the whole team stepped up for this game.

“Our practices have been solid and everyday (the freshmen) are going against good players and they stepped up to the challenge of it and it’s carrying over and showing up in the game play,” Stein said.

Every player on the team has had game experience this season and Stein said the fans can see that up and down the bench.

“What you hope is that the experience our whole team is getting from top to bottom in our lineup is going to help us as we move forward,” he said. “Our depth has really shown today. We got to play a lot of players a lot of minutes and as we move forward into the conference play, we’ll have players that have had experience all year and I think that will help us, especially as we get into conference play in January and February.”

The women’s basketball team will finish up the Thanksgiving Classic at 2:30 p.m. today in the Physical Activities Center against Newberry College.