RIO GRANDE, Ohio — While their turnovers came at rate one might expect from the morning shift at your local McDonald’s, the University of Rio Grande women’s basketball team somehow managed to hang on for a win against the top team in West Division of the River States Conference.
The RedStorm overcame 28 turnovers and a late push by visiting Midway University to post an 80-74 win over the Eagles, Saturday afternoon, at the Newt Oliver Arena.
Rio won for the third straight time, improving to 15-8 overall and 8-2 in league play.
Midway fell to 15-5 overall and 5-4 in the RSC with a second straight loss.
Both teams struggled to find their shooting touch for much of the opening half until the RedStorm parlayed a 14-4 run over the final 4:51 of the second quarter to build a 36-24 lead at halftime.
The Eagles trailed by no more than 12 points and no less than five points until the final minute of the contest when a conventional three-point play by Kindall Talley cut the deficit to 72-69 with 37.5 seconds left to play.
Rio Grande sealed the victory, though, by going 8-for-8 at the free throw line in the final 35 seconds. Senior Sydney Holden (Wheelersburg, OH), who was honored in pre-game ceremonies for surpassing the 1,000-point mark for her career earlier this season, and sophomore Avery Harper (Seaman, OH) both went 4-for-4 at the stripe during the stretch.
The RedStorm went 30-for-35 at the charity stripe as a team and are now 61-for-68 over the course of their last two outings.
The solid showing at the line, plus a 62.5 percent shooting performance from the floor (10-for-16) in the second half, helped Rio overcome 13 first half turnovers and 15 more after the break.
Holden finished with 23 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the win, while Harper, freshman Lexi Woods (Waverly, OH) and junior Chyna Chambers (Columbus, OH) netted 14 points each.
Harper had a game-high nine rebounds as well.
Midway, which finished 7-for-32 from three-point range in addition to being out rebounded, 43-26, was led by Leisa Butler, who tallied 21 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Jill Enix added 18 points in a losing cause for the Eagles, while Talley had 12 points and four steals and Haleigh Yazell tossed in 10 points.
Yazell tied Butler for team honors with five rebounds of her own.
Rio Grande returns to action next Thursday when it entertains Indiana University Kokomo.
Tipoff for the wrap-up to the RedStorm’s three-game homestead is slated for 5:30 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.