RIO GRANDE, Ohio — History has shown that, when the University of Rio Grande and Indiana University Southeast get together on the hardwood, you can expect a high-scoring, tightly-contested affair.
Saturday’s meeting between the RedStorm and the Grenadiers delivered on both ends.
Rio Grande erased deficits of 12 points in the first quarter and seven points in the third period for a come-from-behind 100-96 win in River States Conference women’s basketball action at the Newt Oliver Arena.
The 18th-ranked RedStorm improved to 17-1 overall and 6-0 in conference play with the victory.
IU Southeast, which lost for an eighth straight time, fell to 6-11 overall and 2-6 in the RSC as a result of the loss.
Rio Grande has now won seven of the nine all-time meetings with the Grenadiers, although the last five games have been decided by just 17 points combined.
Junior Hailey Jordan (Columbus, OH) finished with a career-high and team-best 29 points in the winning effort, while also tallying a game-high four steals.
Freshman Kaylee Darnell (Wheelersburg, OH) recorded just the sixth “triple-double” in Rio program history, totaling a career-high 24 points to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Her rebound totals tied a career-high, while the 10 assists established a new career-high.
The triple-double was Rio’s first since Sydney Holden turned the trick in a 114-109 loss to Ohio Christian on Feb. 8, 2020.
The RedStorm got off to a slow start, though, and trailed by as many as 12 points on three different occasions in the opening quarter.
But a 12-0 run, which bridged the final 43 seconds of the first period and the first 2:11 of the second stanza, gave Rio a 34-28 lead following a bucket by Jordan with 7:49 remaining before intermission.
The RedStorm settled for a 51-49 edge at the intermission, but the Grenadiers roared to life again and surged ahead 78-71 following a bucket by Brynna Blackburn with 26 seconds left in the third period.
Rio Grande responded with a 9-2 run to briefly regain an 81-80 lead after a bucket by Jordan with 7:36 left to play, but the RedStorm didn’t take the lead for good until Darnell drilled a three-pointer with 5:56 remaining to make it 86-84.
IU Southeast got no closer than one the rest of the way and Rio led by as many as seven points twice inside the final 30 seconds.
Freshman Aleea Crites (Parkersburg, WV) added 12 points and senior Chyna Chambers (Columbus, OH) had seven assists, in the winning effort for the RedStorm, which shot a sizzling 68.8 percent in the final quarter and 57 percent for the game.
Leah Miller connected on seven three-pointers and scored a career-high 31 points in a losing cause for IU Southeast. She also handed out a team-high four assists.
Lauren Lambdin added 24 points and four assists of her own for the Grenadiers, while Emmy Ralph had 24 points, nine rebounds and three steals.
IU Southeast finished 35-of-70 from the field overall (50%), including 10-for-22 from three-point range.
However, the Grenadiers were outrebounded 36-32 and committed 19 turnovers, which led to a 27-17 Rio advantage in points off of turnovers.
Rio Grande will return to action on Tuesday night when it hosts Midway University in a rescheduled game from last Thursday’s snowout.
Both teams are currently unbeaten in River States Conference play.
Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. at the Newt Oliver Arena.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.