College Sports

Hart’s big game helps lift McKendree women past Missouri Baptist

The McKendree University women’s basketball team picked up its third consecutive victory with a 69-48 non-conference win Wednesday night at home over Missouri Baptist University.

Junior guard Madison Hart registered a double-double with 13 points and a career-high 14 rebounds to lead the way for the Bearcats. McKendree improved to 6-2 overall, and has matched the program’s best start in its NCAA Division II era that began in 2012-13.

Junior forward Shayli Florine and sophomore guard Sydney Diekhoff each added 11 points Wednesday.

McKendree led from start to finish, opening Wednesday’s contest with a 9-2 run over the first five minutes of play. The Bearcats stretched the margin to as many as 12 points in the first quarter before Missouri Baptist battled back in the opening moments of the second period. The Spartans slashed the deficit to 21-13 with 7:58 remaining until halftime.

In the later stages of the first half, McKendree ripped off an 8-2 run to extend its lead to 32-17 with 2:26 left in the half. Florine scored half of the Bearcats’ points during the burst, hitting a layup to cap the run. McKendree stretched the advantage to as many as 16 points before taking a 37-24 lead into the locker room.

McKendree turned up the defensive pressure throughout the third quarter, holding Missouri Baptist to just 15.4 percent shooting (2 of 13) in the period. The Bearcats pushed their lead to 55-31 heading into the fourth quarter, then took their largest lead of the night at 66-38 following two free throws from freshman guard Kylie Ballmann with 2:56 to play.

Megan Fassino was the lone Missouri Baptist player to score in double figures with 10 points.

The Bearcats will look to maintain their winning ways on Saturday with a trip to Frankfort, Ky., to take on Kentucky State University. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. CT).