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Courtesy: ISU Athletics
Indiana State Comeback Falls Short Against Evansville
Courtesy:ISU Athletics
Danny Pfrank

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The Indiana State women's basketball team rallied from a seven-point deficit with five minutes remaining inside Hulman Center to have a chance to win the game on their final possession, but the Evansville Purple Aces escaped with 55-54 victory in front 2,627 fans in game one of the Sycamore basketball doubleheader on Saturday.

Indiana State falls to 11-6 overall and 3-3 in the Missouri Valley Conference with the loss while Evansville improves to 6-10 on the season and 4-1 in league play.

Neither side had more than a four-point lead in the first half, as the Sycamores took a 25-23 lead into the locker room following a layup by freshman Kasey Johnson with less than one minute remaining on the clock.

Junior Anna Munn paced Indiana State at the break, totaling seven points, five rebounds and two assists. Evansville was led by Samantha Heck with seven points and seven rebounds as UE's Mallory Ladd was limited to just four minutes of action in the first half due to foul trouble.

Indiana State took their largest lead of the game in the early minutes of the second half, as sophomore Racheal Mahan and freshman Marina Laramie each converted buckets in the paint to give the Sycamores a 29-23 lead with 18:26 to play.

Following Laramie's basket the Purple Aces went on a 10-1 run over the next two minutes, taking a 33-30 lead on a layup by Khristian Hart with 14:32 remaining. Indiana State responded with three-pointers on three consecutive possessions, taking a 39-38 lead with 12:50 to go on a triple by Munn.

Ladd put Evansville back in front with 12:29 to play on a layup, as UE took a 40-39 lead that the visitors would hold for the remainder of the game. A key 7-0 run for Evansville gave the Purple Aces their largest lead of the game, as UE went in front 52-45 with 5:11 to play on a layup by Ladd.

Mahan converted a three-point play with 4:18 to go before scoring again in the paint, a personal 5-0 run that got Indiana State within two points, at 52-50, with 3:36 remaining. Hart sank a three-pointer from the left wing for Evansville's final points of the game, as UE led 55-50 with 3:04 to play.

Munn hit her fourth trey of the game with 2:14 to go, cutting the UE lead to 55-53. Mahan closed the gap to a single point with 1:08 on the clock, sinking the second of two shots at the free-throw line.

With less than one minute to play, Indiana State got a stop on the defensive end as Munn rebounded a miss from UE's Heck, but Mahan missed a jumper in the paint that Ladd collected for the defensive rebound with 27 seconds remaining.

Indiana State was able to force a pair of jump ball situations as Evansville in-bounded the basketball, taking over possession with 19.8 seconds left to play. After a timeout, sophomore Jessica Valley was whistled for an illegal screen, turning the ball over to Evansville with 16.7 seconds to go.

UE's Juliann Miller missed the front end of a 1-and-1 situation at the line with 10 seconds remaining, giving ISU the opportunity for the last possession, but Johnson was trapped as she crossed mid-court and her pass to Mahan was stolen by Miller to end the game.

Munn led all scorers with 16 points on Saturday, shooting 6-for-13 from the field and 4-for-9 from three-point range while also adding seven rebounds, four assists and two steals in all 40 minutes on the court. Mahan also went into double figures, totaling 12 points and eight rebounds. Hart paced the Purple Aces with 11 points, while Ladd added 10 points. Saturday's game was the first time in Ladd's seven with Evansville this season that the sophomore did not record a double-double.

For the game, Indiana State shot 21-for-57 (36.8%) from the field while Evansville went 18-for-42 (42.9%). ISU turned the ball a season-low 10 times, but committed a pair of turnovers in the final 20 seconds of action.

Indiana State hits the road for their next three games in conference play, beginning with a trip to Illinois State on Friday, Jan. 25. Tipoff is set for 8:05 p.m. (ET), 7:05 p.m. locally in Normal. ISU's Big Blue Booster Club will be sponsoring a fan bus for Friday's game with the Redbirds, for more information, click here.

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