Bearcats surprise Rio women, 76-66

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

OWENSBORO, Ky. — On paper, it looked like a mismatch.

Unfortunately, though, the University of Rio Grande women’s basketball team found out its get-together with Brescia University wasn’t being played on paper.

The host Bearcats spotted the RedStorm the game’s first two points and then never trailed again, posting a 76-66 River States Conference victory, Thursday night, at the Moore Center.

Rio Grande, which had a six-game winning streak snapped, dropped to 11-7 overall and 4-1 in conference play.

The loss also cost the RedStorm a share of the RSC East Division lead with West Virginia University-Tech, which defeated Indiana University Southeast in another of Thursday’s games.

Brescia won for just the third time in 17 contests overall, while upping its league mark to 2-3.

A bucket by freshman Lexi Woods (Waverly, OH) on Rio’s opening possession of the night gave the RedStorm a 2-0 lead, but Brescia’s Hallie Fisher countered with a tying basket of her own moments later and the Bearcats never trailed again.

Brescia led by as many as 11 points late in the opening period, but an 11-2 Rio run – capped by a conventional three-point play by Woods – pulled the RedStorm within 24-22 early in the second quarter.

Rio got no closer the rest of the night.

The Bearcats scored 14 of the game’s next 16 points and took what proved to be their largest lead of the game, 38-24, after a conventional three-point play by Hannah Saltsman with just over three minutes to play before halftime.

The RedStorm cut a 10-point deficit at the intermission down to five, 48-43, following a layup by junior Chyna Chambers (Columbus, OH) late in the third quarter, but Brescia re-established a 10-point cushion heading to the final stanza.

The Bearcats equaled their earlier 14-point lead after a Cassidy Moss steal and layup made it 62-48 and a double-digit edge remained intact the rest of the way – aside from three times in the final 4-1/2 minutes when Rio closed the gap to eight points.

The RedStorm shot just 38 percent overall (23-for-60), while going 3-for-17 from three-point range (17.6%) and committing 20 turnovers.

Woods finished with a team-high 19 points for Rio, while senior Sydney Holden (Wheelersburg, OH) tallied 16 points, a game-high seven assists and a club-best two steals.

Chambers added 11 points in a losing cause for the RedStorm, while sophomore Avery Harper (Seaman, OH) had a game-high six rebounds.

Brescia, which shot 56 percent from the field in the opening half, finished at 45.2 percent for the game (28-for-62).

The Bearcats also had 15 steals among the 20 Rio Grande turnovers.

Moss finished with a career-high 25 points in the win, while also recording a game-high six rebounds and five steals.

Fisher added a career-high 22 points of her own for Brescia, while Alecea Homer tossed in a career-best 12 points. Both shared team honors with three assists each.

Rio Grande returns to action on Saturday when it faces IU Southeast.

Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. in New Albany, Ind.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.