Women's Basketball Captures Clabber Girl Trophy

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Three players reached double figures and the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology women's basketball team netted 26 points above its season average to come away with its second straight Clabber Girl Trophy in Wednesday's 74-54 victory over crosstown rival Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

The Engineers (1-4, 0-0 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) added another notch in the win column in the 21-game series, which dates back to 1995. The Pomeroys lead the all-time series, 14-7.

Sophomore Andi Evers (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) and freshman Kristen Belyea (Mahomet, Ill./Mahomet Seymour) scored a team-best 11 points for the Engineers, who also got 10 points from senior Lauren Meadows (Indianapolis, Ind./Brebeuf). Freshman forward Josie Schmidt (Eighty Four, Pa./Ringgold) chipped in six points and 10 rebounds in 15 minutes of play.

Rose-Hulman opened the game on a 7-2 run, kickstarted by an Evers 3-pointer and ensuing jumper. The Engineers would never trail in the contest. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods responded with a 6-2 run of its own, led by two buckets from Sierra Lopez, to cut the lead to one, 9-8.

Rose-Hulman would retain a tight lead for the next six minutes before going on a 7-0 run, capped by a three-point play by Meadows at the 3:17 mark to give Rose its largest lead of the half, 26-15. A pair of Madeline Pea free throws and a Ja'Breena Gardner layup made the score 27-19 at halftime in favor of the Engineers, marking the largest first-half scoring output of the season for RHIT.

After draining two 3's in the first half, the Engineers would nail six more in the second, as sophomore Sheree Williams (Bluffton, S.C./Bluffton) struck first at the 19:21 mark to extend RHIT's lead to 10, 31-21. Freshman Ava Paruleski (Shumway, Ill./Beecher City) made the next on an Evers' assist at the 15:56 mark and Evers added another two minutes later to give the Engineers an eight-point cushion (39-31) with 13 minutes to play.

That's when Belyea made a 8-0 run of her own, sinking first a triple then two-straight jumpers to make the score 47-34 with 11:16 to play. Gardner scored eight straight points for SMWC to cut the lead to 13 (61-48) with 3:35 left in regulation, but RHIT's Kelsey Ploof (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) made a layup, Belyea drained her second triple and Carrie Morris (Altadena, Calif./Mayfield) added two free throws to push the lead to its largest of the contest, 68-48.

Ploof finished with six points and eight rebounds on a perfect 3-of-3 performance from the floor and Gracie Gibbs (Parker, Colo./Ponderosa) added nine points and four rebounds. Williams and Morris (eight rebounds) both dished out a career-high six assists, as the Engineers finished with a season-best 21.

Rose-Hulman shot 45.8 percent (27-59) from the field, while the Pomeroys finished the game at 34.4 percent (21-61). The Engineers also outrebounded SMWC, 51-33. RHIT freshman Abbie Marshall (St. Louis, Mo./Nerinx Hall) pulled down eight rebounds, a career-best mark.

Gardner led SMWC with a game-high 25 points on 11-of-21 shooting and added five rebounds, four steals and two assists. Pea finished the game with 12 points and Lopez added 11 for the Pomeroys.

The Engineers return to the court Saturday when they travel to Transylvania University for RHIT's Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener. The Pioneers defeated Mount St. Joseph, 78-56, Wednesday night in their conference opener.