An efficient scoring effort on Sunday helped the Bradley women’s basketball team defeat the Evansville Purple Aces Sunday, 65-58.
While shooting 63 percent from the field, sophomore Katie Yohn’s 20-point outburst was enough to keep up with Evansville guard Briyana Blair’s 21 points and nine steals in what quickly became a battle between two of the league’s best guards.
What seperated the Braves from the Purple Aces was a defense that kept the Purple Aces from shooting above 38 percent during the game.
Evansville cut the lead down to six points with only two minutes left in the game. The victory was sealed by a last minute layup by senior guard Raisa Taylor and two free throws by Yohn with 22.6 seconds left in the game.
With Taylor’s 10-point effort, she moves to 15th on Bradley’s all-time scoring list.
The Braves defense, anchored by the eight rebounds, three blocks and three steals of junior forward MacKenzie Westcott, lured Evansville into taking a high volume of shots, but not many were quality.
“Our defense turns into our offense,” said Taylor. “We knew we just had to get up and play great defense.”
The defensive concentration led the Braves to collectively out-rebound the Purple Aces 40-26. Yohn and Taylor pulled down seven and six rebounds respectively, while the rest of the team combined for 27 boards.
The Braves started off the game by rattling off a 12-2 run after Evansville had scored the first points of the game.
“Early confidence,” coach Paula Buscher said. “Anytime you get your defense going and you get some breakout baskets and make them, you get the confidence going and I think that just sets the tone for the game.”
Yohn started the game strong along with junior forward Latasha Hollingshed, both scoring four points each in the 12-2 run that followed the first bucket of the game by Evansville.
Blair quickly started heating up on both sides of the ball, scoring eight of her team’s first 12 points and also tallying up six steals in the first half.
The rest of the Purple Aces followed Blair’s lead, collecting a total of 26 steals that helped turn the Braves over 25 times.
The frequent turnovers caused the lead for the Braves to disappear as the teams headed into the second half with a 29-29 tie.
Yohn yet again came out on fire, scoring the Braves first seven points of the half. While the Braves went on a 13-2 run, the Purple Aces only scored two points in the first seven-and-a-half minutes of the second half.
Despite the Purple Aces efforts to cut the lead down to six, the Braves went 11-12 from the free-throw line and ended up icing the game from the charity stripe.
Combined with the victory over Southern Illinois, the Braves have strung together their first in conference winning streak of the season.
The Braves will now look to continue their winning streak on the road with a three game conference road trip that begins against Northern Iowa on Saturday.