#21 Lady Cougars thwart IU-Kokomo upset bid

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Whatever Josie Murphy’s pregame prep was The junior from Peru, Ind., scored a career best 26 points leading the Lady Cougars to a hard-earned 71-63 over River States Conference member Indiana University-Kokomo at Hutzell Athletic Center early Saturday afternoon.

IUK (2-2) put its No. 29 Recieved Votes status on the line, but USF broke out to an early 10-0 lead. If only the rest of the game was that easy for USF, though through the early part of the second quarter it look as though it would be easy. Kara Gerka’s bucket gave USF what was its largest lead of the game by 16 with 9:34 to play in the second 10 minutes, 29-13.

The visiting Cougars charged back with an 18-4 counterattack shaving the deficit to one, 34-33, with 48 seconds left in the first half. Gerka gave USF a 36-33 lead with 33 seconds and Dejianna Butler scored with 20 seconds left and that’s how the half ended, 36-35 USF.

Murphy started the USF scoring in the third quarter and the Lady Cougars built an 11-point lead, 48-37, on two Alexis Thorbahn free throws with 5:15 left in the quarter. Again the Cougars clawed back finally tying the score at 48 on a Butler free throw with 1:35 to play in the third quarter. It was the first and only tie of the game. USF’s Sidney Crowe hit two free throws restoring the USF lead 50-48 with 1:23 to play.

Murphy hit two free throws for a 54-50 USF lead after three quarters and though IUK never got the lead or a tie, the Cougars did get within a point three times at 56-55, 62-61 and 64-63, the last time with 2:44 to play in the fourth quarter. Savannah Buck slashed through the lane to score at 2:26 to play for a 66-63 lead, USF outscoring IUK 7-0 in the time remaining. Butler scored IUK’s last points with 2:44 to play.

Gerka scored 10 points in the second half to finish with 16, the only other Lady Cougar besides Murphy to reach double-digit scoring.on Saturday, the University of Saint Francis guard may want to repeat the process before every game this season.