Stingy defense powers Lady Splitters in upset

Published 7:15 pm Wednesday, December 20, 2017

HARROGATE, Tenn. — After trailing by as much as nine, the Lincoln Memorial University women’s basketball team stepped up the intensity on both sides of the ball in the third quarter to grab the 81-73 upset win over 17th-ranked and previously unbeaten Southern Indiana Tuesday evening.

LMU (6-5) picked up their signature win thus far this season by holding USI (9-1) to 1-of-9 shooting from behind the arc for the final three quarters of the game and also by a dominating performance on the boards, out-rebounding the Screaming Eagles 45-28.

Qua Hines and Shea Coker led LMU with 16 points apiece. Hines’ 16 points were a career high for the freshman. Also having career highs were Jordan Brightwell (12 points) and Maggie Jachimczuk (11 points), while Rachel Griffith chipped in 10 points. Coker led LMU on the boards with six rebounds, while Hines and Brightwell had five each.

The loss spoiled a solid performance from USI’s Kacy Eschweiler, who nearly tied her career high with 21 points. Kaydie Grooms scored 16 points, Alex Davidson had 13 points and Morgan Dahlstrom chipped in 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds.

The Lady Railsplitters went 47.4 percent (27-57) from the field, 38.1 percent (8-21) from three-point range and 70.4 percent (19-27) from the free-throw line. Southern Indiana shot 44.3 percent (27-61) from the field, 37.5 percent (6-16) from three-point range and 68.4 percent (13-19) from the free-throw line.

Karsen Sims took the opening tip and found Hines for the open lay-up to give LMU the quick lead. LMU went out to a three-point lead before the Eagles went on a 7-0 run.

The Lady Railsplitters would tie the game up at 14-14 only to go ice cold for the next three minutes, which allowed USI to post a 9-0 run before Coker ended the drought with a 3-pointer at the two minute mark. A pair of Hines free throws would cut the lead to 28-21 at the end of the first quarter.

The Lady Railsplitters chipped away at the lead throughout the second period, eventually tying the game 32-32 on a Jachimczuk jumper with 4:33 remaining. The Eagles would again move out to a late 38-34 lead before a Hines trey cut lead to 38-37 at the half.

The halftime talk by Coach Krystal Evans must have been a good one because LMU came out on fire in the third quarter and outscored the Eagles 23-13 in the frame. A driving Coker dumped a pass to Brightwell, who scored to tie the game at 42-42.

USI would use a basket and a pair of free throws to go back ahead by four points at the 6:28 mark. Jachimczuk then powered LMU to a 12-2 run over the next 3:21, scoring seven points during that stretch and putting LMU ahead 54-48. The Eagles would cut the lead to five points with a minute remaining in the quarter, but baskets by Brightwell and Hines gave LMU the 60-51 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Brightwell gave the Blue and Gray their largest lead of the game at 62-51 with a pair of free throws to open the final stanza. USI methodically chipped away at the lead over the next 4:14 to tie the game at 67-67 on a layup by Grooms. Coker answered back by hitting a 3-pointer on LMU’s next possession.

LMU’s defense then sealed the deal by holding USI to only one basket from the field down the stretch while the offense hit seven of nine free throws along with baskets from Brightwell and Emily Griffith over the last 3:07 to seal the upset victory.

Quick Hits

– LMU evens up the series with USI at 1-1, with the home team taking the victory in each meeting.

– The last ranked team LMU beat was Wingate, who was ranked 21st when LMU defeated them 85-66 in the NCAA Southeast Regional semifinals last season. The last ranked team the Lady Railsplitters defeated in the Tex Turner Arena was Carson-Newman, who were ranked at No. 20 when LMU defeated them 56-54 on Nov. 24, 2015.

– With the win, 17th-ranked Southern Indiana becomes the second-highest ranked team that LMU has ever beaten. The highest was second-ranked Delta State, who LMU defeated 76-66 in the Turner Arena on Dec. 4, 1993.

– Shea Coker’s 16 points moves her closer to the 1,000 point mark for her career. The senior currently has 974 career points.

Up Next

LMU will have a few days off to celebrate Christmas with their families. They will next take the court on Dec. 30 when they travel to Lenoir-Rhyne for a 2 p.m. South Atlantic Conference contest vs. the Bears.

———

Lincoln Memorial 81, Southern Indiana 73

SOUTHERN INDIANA (9-1)

Kacy Eschweiler 9-17 1-3 21, Kaydie Grooms 5-12 6-8 16, Alex Davidson 4-7 2-2 13, Morgan Dahlstrom 5-11 0-1 10, Randa Harshbarger 0-4 2-2 2, Mikayla Rowan 1-3 2-3 4, Morgan Sherwood 1-1 0-0 3, Ashley Johnson 1-4 0-0 2, Imani Guy 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 27-61 13-19 73.

LINCOLN MEMORIAL (6-5)

Shea Coker 6-14 0-0 16, Qua Hines 4-9 7-10 16, Jordan Brightwell 5-8 2-4 12, Karsen Sims 2-4 3-4 7, Ross Mathis 0-2 1-2 1, Maggie Jachimczuk 4-5 2-3 11, Rachel Griffith 3-6 2-2 10, Emily Griffith 3-5 2-2 8, Cameryn DuBose 0-2 0-0 0, Dasia Maxwell 0-1 0-0 0, Sydney Duggins 0-1 0-0 0.

Southern Indiana 28 10 13 22 — 73

Lincoln Memorial 21 16 23 21 — 81

3-point goals: Southern Indiana 6-16 (Eschweiler 2-5, Davidson 3-6, Grooms 0-4, Sherwood 1-1). Lincoln Memorial 8-21 (Coker 4-8, Hines 1-3, R. Giffith 2-5, Sims 0-1, Mathis 0-2, Jachimczuk 1-1 Duggins 0-1). Rebounds: Southern Indiana 28 (Dahlstrom 8), Lincoln Memorial 45 (Coker 6).