RICHMOND, Ind. — Tia King became the first 1,000-point scorer in Indiana University-East’s two-year-old women’s basketball program and the host Red Wolves rallied from a 13-point first half deficit to defeat the University of Rio Grande, 84-78, in Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action, Saturday afternoon, at Richmond High School’s Tiernan Center.
King scored 17 points and had a game-high 10 rebounds for IU-East, which improved to 14-9 overall and 9-2 in the KIAC with a fourth straight win.
Rio Grande, which suffered a second consecutive loss, slipped to 13-7 overall and 6-3 in league play.
The RedStorm shot just under 56 percent from the field in the opening half en route to building a pair of 13-point leads – the last of which came at 39-26 with 4:20 left before halftime, following the second of back-to-back buckets by senior Harley Adler (Burton, OH).
The Red Wolves responded with an 18-4 run to close out the half, though, including 11 straight points after the basket by Adler, and grabbed their first – and only – lead of the half, 44-43, on a layup by Libby Springmeier with 10 seconds remaining before the intermission.
Rio Grande managed its own bounce-back effort after the break and surged back in front, 57-52, after a jumper in the lane by freshman Jasmine Smith (Canal Winchester, OH) with 4:01 remaining in the third quarter, but IU-East closed the period on a 15-2 run – including a three-pointer by Springmeier with 1:47 left that snapped a 59-all tie – and never trailed again.
The Red Wolves pushed their advantage to as many as 10 points, 81-71, following a layup by Keragan Niehoff with 3:35 remaining in the game, but Rio refused to go away quietly and reeled off eight straight markers to close within 81-79 after a pair of free throws by freshman Jaida Carter (New Philadelphia, OH) with 41.9 seconds left.
That’s as close as the RedStorm would get, though, with Niehoff connecting on three of four free throw tries in the final 28.3 seconds to secure the win and set the final score.
Niehoff finished with a team-high 18 points for IU-East, including 14 in the second half. She also had eight rebounds and both of the Red Wolves’ blocked shots.
Springmeier finished with 16 points in just under 17-1/2 minutes of action off the bench, while Kristen Miller had 14 points and a game-best seven assists in the winning effort.
Senior Sarah Bonar (Hartford, OH) led Rio Grande with a game-high 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Smith had Smith had 16 points and tied a career-high with eight rebounds.
Junior guard Sharday Baines (East Cleveland, OH) had 13 points and a team-high six assists before fouling out with 6:48 left in the contest, while Adler also netted 13 points to go along with a game-high six blocked shots.
Rio Grande, which played much of the game without junior forward Brooke Marcum (Vinton, OH) on the floor – she also fouled out with 4:51 remaining – attempted half as many free throws as the Red Wolves and were outscored 15-7 at the free throw line in the five-point loss.
The RedStorm return to action on Tuesday night, hosting Ohio Christian University for a 6 p.m. tipoff at the Newt Oliver Arena.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.