After riding a high-scoring offense to three consecutive wins, the University of Evansville Women’s Basketball team did it on the other end of the floor on Saturday afternoon, earning a fourth straight win with a 68-54 decision over visiting Austin Peay at the Ford Center.
“The defense stepped up big for us today,” UE interim head coach Matt Ruffing said. “We’re making a lot of strides, and I really like where our team is at right now. We’re still trying to find ways to get better, and we’re learning how to win games. Now we’re winning in different ways, which will really help us grow as a team.”
The Aces (4-5) held the Governors (5-5) to 32.8% shooting from the field, and the game marked just the third time this season that UE enjoyed a more efficient shooting performance than their opponent and the third time over the current winning streak that an opponent was held to under 40%.
Things started off well for UE, beginning with a pair of Sara Dickey layups before the visitors out of Clarksville, Tenn., grabbed their first and only lead with a Tearra Banks basket to make it 8-7. The lead would last all of 15 seconds, as the Aces closed out the opening period with six straight points to take 13-8 lead into the second quarter.
Banks starred for APSU on the day, scoring a game-best 22 points to go along with 14 rebounds.
Dickey, UE’s all-time leading scorer with 1,802 career points, was the story of the second frame as she poured in 13 of her 20 points, punctuating the first half with a three-pointer as time expired to give the Aces a 31-23 advantage at the break.
“In the first half, our shots just weren’t falling, especially from three, and I think some of the team got a little hesitant,” Ruffing explained. “Sara’s never shied away from a shot since she stepped on campus. It was nice to see her kind of put us on her shoulders as she’s done many times over the years.”
UE looked to come out of the break strong, taking an 11-point lead in the early goings of the third quarter, but a 13-4 run by the Govs made things interesting as Banks scored six points over the stretch to pull within two at 39-37. However, the Aces were able to push back scoring six of the last eight points in the quarter to regain some breathing room.
From there, Camary Williams would take the Aces home. The senior guard is enjoying a fantastic start to the season and Saturday was no different. The Ft. Myers, Florida, product scored 11 of her 19 points in the final 10 minutes, and she was once again a nuisance defensively, pulling down five rebounds and matching her NCAA-best average in steals with five.
“There was nothing really going Camary’s way in the first half,” Ruffing said. “For her to bounce back like that and take over in the second half says a lot. She led us to this victory.”
Gasper also hit double-digits in points for the Aces with 10, and Sasha Robinson led the team with nine rebounds.
UE will return to action next week with a trip to No. 8 Louisville on Sunday, December 18.