EVANSVILLE – A year removed from seeing its ability to play in the postseason end abruptly, the University of Evansville women’s basketball team returns to Moline, Ill. for 2021 Hoops in the Heartland beginning with a contest against No. 7 seed Valparaiso at 7:30 PM on Thursday at the TaxSlayer Center.
|No. 10 Evansville vs. No. 7 Valparaiso | March 11, 7:30 PM|
|Date | Time||March 11, 7:30 PM|
|March 11||No. 10 Evansville vs. No. 7 Valparaiso|
Last Time Out: Missouri State 85, Evansville 44
- In its regular season finale, the University of Evansville women’s basketball team fell behind early, but battled to close the gap in an 85-44 loss to No. 23 Missouri State on Saturday evening inside Meeks Family Fieldhouse in Evansville.
- Leading the way for Evansville was sophomore Abby Feit, who finished with 14 points, including a pair of triples.
- Seniors Jada Poland (nine points) and Lola Reed (seven points) combined for 16 points for the Aces in their final games inside Meeks Family Fieldhouse.
- The Lady Bears were led by five double-figure scorers with Brice Calip tallying a team-best 14 points.
- A fast start for the Lady Bears helped Missouri State to pull away early.
- The Lady Bears scored the first 14 points of the contest and held Evansville scoreless for the first 8:24 of the contest before Feit hit a layup with 1:36 remaining in the opening quarter.
- Trailing by 13 after the first quarter, Evansville held its own in much of the second period, finding its offensive rhythm and scoring 16 points in the quarter as the Aces trailed 45-22 at the break.
- In that second quarter, Poland and Reed got in on the scoring, recording five points each in the frame.
- The Lady Bears continued to score at a high rate in the second half as Missouri State totaled 40 points in quarters three and four.
- After the Aces hit four triples in the opening half and shot 43% (6-14) from the field in the second quarter, Evansville’s offense slowed, hitting just one second-half three and shooting 25.9% from the field in the final 20 minutes in the 85-44 loss to Missouri State.
- Prior to the game, Evansville honored three seniors in Lola Reed, Jada Poland, and Kayla Casteel.
- The three have combined to play in 154 games, making 76 starts and combining for 870 points in the white & purple.
Previewing the Matchup: No. 7 Valparaiso
- Evansville and Valparaiso are meeting for the 21st time in the all-time series wit Valpo owning a narrow 11-9 lead in the series.
- The two sides last met on Feb. 20, 2021 with Valpo coming away with a 71-56 win at the ARC in Valparaiso, Ind.
- The Aces last win came in the series opener with Valpo on Feb. 19, 2021 when UE earned a 57-43 win.
- Evansville is in search of its first win at Hoops in the Heartland since defeating the #3 seed Missouri State, 65-59, on March 10, 2017.
- Thursday’s game with seventh-seeded Valparaiso will represent the first time Evansville has opened the postseason against a team it has won at least one game against, since the 2014-15 when the Aces were the No. 7 seed and defeated No. 10 seed Illinois State, 55-51, after beating the Redbirds in both meetings prior during the regular season.
- Evansville looks to bounce back offensively after being held to an average of 44.25 points per game over the last four contests.
- Just two players on Evansville’s roster have ever played in a game in Hoops in the Heartland. Junior Anna Newman and senior Kayla Casteel both played in the 2019 Hoops in the Heartland and Casteel played in the 2018 edition of the tournament. The two have combined to play just 46 minutes in the tournament.
Regaining its Rhythm from Three
- After not recording a three pointer in the series finale at UNI on Feb. 28, Evansville seems to have rebounded and found its rhythm from beyond the arc.
- In the final weekend of the regular season, the Aces hit a combined 11 triples, recording the fifth-most and seventh-most three-pointers in a game this season against Missouri State.
First Time Meeting
- This Thursday will mark the first ever postseason meeting between Evansville and Valpo.
- The two sides have met 20 times in the series, but have never met in the postseason.