Jordan leads Rio Grande women to win in opener

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Hailey Jordan scored 23 of her career-high 28 points in the second half as the University of Rio Grande women’s basketball team opened the 2021-22 season with a come-from-behind 98-82 win over Milligan (Tenn.) College as part of the RedStorm Classic, Friday night, at the Newt Oliver Arena.

The Buffaloes, who were also playing their season opener, enjoyed a 53-46 lead following a three-pointer by Lily Griffith with just under eight minutes to play in the third quarter, but the RedStorm closed the quarter on a 24-11 run — thanks in large part to Jordan — to take the lead once and for all.

The Columbus, Ohio junior, who attempted just three shots in the first half, scored 12 points in the third quarter and added 11 more in the final period. She finished 12-for-17 from the floor — while also adding seven rebounds — to eclipse her previous career-high of 25 points, set in a loss at Alice Lloyd College on Dec. 11, 2020.

Rio Grande, which coughed up an eight-point first quarter lead, continued to pull away over the final stanza and led by as many as 21 points, 92-71, after a three-pointer by junior Reagan Willingham (Ashville, OH) with 2:37 left to play.

The RedStorm finished with four other players in double figures.

Junior Ella Skeens (Chillicothe, OH) had 16 points to go along with six rebounds and a team-high six assists in her Rio debut, while freshmen Aleea Crites (Parkersburg, WV) and Kaylee Darnell (Wheelersburg, OH) netted 12 points each and senior Avery Harper (Seaman, OH) added 10 points.

Harper also finished with a team-best 13 rebounds.

Griffith tied a career-high with 24 points in a losing cause for Milligan, connecting on five of the Buffaloes’ 10 three-point goals.

Jaycie Jenkins, last year’s Freshman of the Year in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, finished with 18 points in addition to a game-high 14 rebounds and team-high four assists, while Kristy Galea tossed in 14 points of her own.

Milligan shot just 28.6 percent from the floor (4-for-14) in the final period and finished at 38.9 percent for the game (28-for-72).

Rio Grande shot a sizzling 61.5 percent (24-for-39) in the second half and finished the game 40-for-81 (49.4%). The RedStorm also committed just eight turnovers.

The two-day season-opening Classic wraps up on Saturday afternoon.

Rio Grande will face Lawrence Tech (Mich.) at 3 p.m. following Milligan’s meeting with Indiana University East at 1 p.m.

IU East posted a 75-59 win over Lawrence Tech in Friday’s first game.

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.