RICHMOND, Ind. — While the temperature was falling sharply outside of Indiana University East’s Student Activity Center on Saturday afternoon, the University of Rio Grande was blistering hot inside on Lingle Court against the host Red Wolves.
The RedStorm shot just over 77 percent from the floor in the second half and just under 65 percent for the game, en route to a 98-81 victory in a key River States Conference East Division women’s basketball matchup.
Rio Grande, which is ranked No. 19 nationally, improved to 14-0 overall and 5-0 in league play.
IU East, which had a three-game winning streak snapped, slipped to 9-3 overall and 2-1 in the RSC as a result of the loss.
The Red Wolves trailed by just six points at halftime, 45-39, and were within five points after Bethany Mackin hit one of two free throw attempts with 7:24 remaining in the third quarter to make it 51-46.
But Rio Grande’s hot shooting helped produce a 13-point cushion by the close of the third period and a 20-point advantage inside the final minute before settling on the 17-point margin of victory.
The RedStorm went 24-for-31 from the floor over the final two quarters (77.4%), including 11-of-15 in the third period (73.3%) and 13-for-16 (81.3%) over the game’s final 10 minutes.
Rio finished 44-for-68 for the game (64.7%) and also enjoyed a commanding 42-27 edge in rebounding.
The sizzling shooting allowed the RedStorm to survive 25 turnovers which led directly to 30 of the Red Wolves’ point tally for the day.
Freshman Kaylee Darnell (Wheelersburg, OH) led the offensive onslaught with a career-high 23 points and eight assists, while junior Hailey Jordan (Columbus, OH) netted 20 points — 18 of which came in the second half.
Junior Ella Skeens (Chillicothe, OH) tallied 17 points, tied a career-high with 13 rebounds and had a game-best six steals in the winning effort, while freshman Aleea Crites (Parkersburg, WV) contributed 10 points and senior Chyna Chambers (Columbus, OH) had six of Rio’s 24 assists as a team.
Mackin finished with a team-high 18 points, five rebounds and three steals for IUE, while Addie Brown had 16 points to go along with a team-high three assists and three steals of her own.
Tia Tolbert also had five rebounds for IUE and Taylor Browning had three steals of her own in a losing cause.
The Red Wolves suffered their first loss at home this season and their first when attempting 20 or more free throws.
IUE shot 39.7 percent overall (27-for-68) and just 61.8 percent (21-for-34) at the free throw line.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.