EVANSVILLE, Ind. – University of Southern Indiana Women’s Basketball picked up an 85-52 home win Wednesday against Bethel University (Ind.), as USI’s junior forward Meredith Raley (Haubstadt, Indiana) recorded a career-high 23 points on the afternoon.
Both teams tried to find their flow in the first few minutes of the first quarter Wednesday. For USI, sophomore guard Vanessa Shafford (Linton, Indiana) picked up right where she left off from her 21-point, 11-rebound performance on Saturday. Shafford scored five quick points off a mid-range jumper and a three-pointer that put USI ahead 7-2 in the early going. After a little bit of a dry spell, Bethel closed the gap to make the score 11-9 USI, but the Screaming Eagles went on to finish the first quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 20-9 advantage into the second period. Senior forward Hannah Haithcock (Washington Courthouse, Ohio) scored six straight points for USI in the late, first-quarter run.
After scoring five points in the first period, Raley attacked the basket in the early minutes of the second quarter, getting to the free-throw line. Her made free throws with 7:56 left in the first half put USI up by 20, 29-9. A minute later, the Screaming Eagles kept feeding Haithcock in the paint, as her bucket inside gave USI a 31-13 lead and put her in double figures. Southern Indiana went on another big run before halftime, putting together a 13-2 run inside the last four and a half minutes. Raley reached double digits for the game with 1:21 left in the second when she cashed in with a basket and a foul, hitting the free throw and giving USI a 41-18 lead.
The Screaming Eagles went into the intermission ahead 44-18. Raley and Haithcock led USI with 14 and 13 points, respectively, at the break. Southern Indiana shot 44.4 percent (16-36) in the first half while Bethel shot 26.1 percent (6-23) through the first two quarters. By halftime, USI had 16 fast break points, 19 points off turnovers, and 20 points in the paint.
Out of halftime, Shafford canned two straight triples in the first 90 seconds of the third to cross into double figures for the game and put USI up 50-18. Shafford and Raley were strong in the third quarter. Raley scored seven points quickly midway through the period to reach 21 points, setting a new career high after a made three with 4:34 remaining in the third. The three-pointer gave USI a 31-point lead, 59-28. Bethel had a 10-5 stretch in the back half of the third to make the score 64-39 USI heading into the fourth period.
About halfway into the fourth quarter, Southern Indiana’s junior guard Lexie Green (Indianapolis, Indiana) found her rhythm from deep. Green put two consecutive three-point shots through the bottom of the net, and then she followed those threes up with a successful old-fashioned three-point play, giving her nine quick points and a 77-43 lead for USI with five minutes remaining in the fourth. Green hit double digits before the game went final.
USI was led in scoring by Raley with 23 points, a new career best for the junior, shooting 7-8 from the floor and 8-9 at the free-throw line. Raley also finished with eight rebounds. Shafford ended up with her second consecutive double-double effort, tallying 13 points and 10 boards. Haithcock had 15 points, and Green posted 11 points, a new career high and her first career double-digit game. Senior guard Tori Handley (Jeffersonville, Indiana) added seven points, six assists, and four steals. USI went 31-58 (53.4 percent) from the field, 8-17 (47.1 percent) from three, and 15-18 (83.3 percent) from the charity stripe. Southern Indiana outrebounded Bethel 35-24 and totaled 23 assists. The Screaming Eagles also registered 20 fast break points, 29 points off turnovers, and 36 points in the paint.
For Bethel, the Pilots were led by senior forward Katie Kinker with 13 points and sophomore guard Maiah Shelton with 10 points. The Pilots shot 40.4 percent (21-52) from the floor, 23.5 percent (4-17) from three, and 75 percent (6-8) from the line.
The Screaming Eagles will go 10 days before their next game. USI will play on December 3 at Murray State at 2 p.m. to begin a five-game road swing.

Credit: USI Athletics