RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande managed to maintain its perfect home record against Indiana University Southeast on Saturday afternoon.
However, the RedStorm’s 10th win inside the Newt Oliver Arena certainly didn’t come as easy as the previous nine did.
Head coach David Smalley’s club squandered a 10-point second quarter lead, but mounted a fourth quarter rally en route to a 68-61 win over the Grenadiers in River States Conference women’s basketball action.
Rio Grande, ranked 20th in NAIA Division II, ran its record to 13-4 overall and 4-1 in the RSC with the victory in a game featuring six ties and eight lead changes.
IU Southeast suffered a third straight loss, falling to 8-7 overall and 3-2 in league play.
The Grenadiers, who blew a 16-point first half lead at home against the RedStorm last season, appeared primed to play role reversal on Saturday by using an 18-3 run to transform a 25-15 deficit early in the second quarter into a 33-28 lead just before halftime.
Southeast maintained a three-point advantage, 53-50, following a layup by Kelsi Scott with 6:41 left in the game, but Rio Grande scored 14 of the game’s next 18 points to take a lead it would never relinquish.
Freshman Avery Harper (Seaman, OH) scored the first four points in the run, while junior Megan Duduit (Minford, OH) capped the scoring spurt with a left wing three-pointer to give the RedStorm a 64-57 edge with 2:32 remaining.
The Grenadiers got no closer than five points the rest of the way.
Sophomore Jimi Howell (Barberton, OH) led Rio Grande with her second straight double-double effort of 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Junior Sydney Holden (Wheelersburg, OH) had a double-double of her own and nearly finished with a triple-double, totaling 11 points, 10 rebounds and a eight assists. She also had a game-high five steals.
Harper and senior Jaida Carter (New Philadelphia, OH) added 11 points each in the winning effort and Duduit’s nine-point effort represented a career-best.
The RedStorm got the win despite shooting just 31.9 percent overall (22-for-69) and a woeful 52.8% from the free throw line (19-for-36).
IU Southeast shot just 35.5 percent overall (22-for-62), was out rebounded 55-40 and also committed 20 turnovers.
Josie Hockman led the Grenadiers with 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Baylee Krueger and Lauren Lambdin finished with 11 points each.
Rio Grande returns to action on Thursday night when it hosts RSC East Division leader West Virginia University-Tech.
The RedStorm currently trail the Golden Bears by one-half game for the division lead.
Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.