WILMORE, Ky. – After making up an early 7-0 deficit and then losing the lead on an 8-1 Asbury run to end the third period of play, the Shawnee State women’s basketball program used a game-high and career-high 28 points from Ashton Lovely, including 13 points in the fourth and final frame, to allow the Bears – and Ali Zieverink, who scored her 1,000th career point in the contest – to come home happy as the No. 16-ranked Bears ran away with an 83-68 victory in a Thursday night nonconference battle against the NAIA Division II No. 22-ranked Eagles on Thursday evening in Wilmore, Ky.
Shawnee State, who also received a combined 33 points and 19 rebounds from Zieverink and Madison Ridout, overcame the 7-0 drought to start the contest by shooting 48.3 percent from the floor and 45.5 percent from distance compared to Asbury’s 36.8 percent from the field and 28.6 percent mark from downtown.
After not scoring through the first minute and 41 seconds of the contest, the Bears would gradually begin to cut into the deficit as five points apiece by Zieverink and Abby Feuchter allowed Shawnee State to cut the gap to 17-13 with 3:13 to play in the first quarter.
Then over a two-possession period, Jenna Brown would find some space of her own, as the freshman added five quick points in a 24 second span to give the Bears a one-point lead and allow Shawnee State to end the first quarter with the advantage, as well.
In the second quarter, the Bears immediately looked for their stalwart down low, who took a pass from Ridout and finished on the low right block to score the 999th and 1,000th points of her career in putting Shawnee State up by three with 13 seconds gone in the second quarter of action.
The Bears continued its hot tirade in the second period of action as Lovely caught fire from the field. After only scoring a single point in the first quarter, the Jamestown, Ohio product drilled four huge treys and nailed another bucket in the lane to push the Shawnee State advantage to a 42-36 tally at the halftime break.
Both teams would trade runs back and forth to begin the third period of play as Asbury’s six point run to tie the game was answered by another six point spurt by the Bears as Shawnee State grabbed a 48-42 advantage with 8:03 to play in the third quarter.
However, after a three-pointer by Madison Ridout – the bucket being part of her seven-point frame – and two baskets by Zieverink to keep the edge at a 55-49 count, the Eagles would go on an 8-1 burst to take a 57-56 lead after three quarters of play.
The Bears, who had missed five of their first six free throw attempts and each of their next three shots from the field from 4:21 in the third frame to the 8:41 mark of the fourth, were undeterred.
In less than three minutes, the balanced Shawnee State offensive attack would erase any good will that Asbury would do as Zieverink responded with another bucket in the paint and Feuchter would can another huge trey for the Bears to give Shawnee State a 61-59 lead with 8:15 remaining in the contest.
From there, Brown, Ridout, and Lovely would join Zieverink and Feuchter in the scoring column during the tilt, as the quintet would push the Bears out to a 14-4 edge over a span of 2:22 as Shawnee State took a 71-63 advantage with 5:53 left.
Then as she did in the second frame, Lovely proceeded to take the fourth quarter over as the combo guard scored 10 of her 13 points in the final frame in a time of 4:10 – including 10 of the team’s final dozen tallies in the same span – to allow Shawnee State to win going away as the Bears took the contest over the No. 22-ranked Eagles by the aforementioned 83-65 edge.
In addition to her game-high 28 points, Lovely would add game-highs in assists (six) and steals (three) while adding five rebounds in a complete floor game.
Ridout would also put together an excellent contest, scoring 14 points on just seven shot attempts – shooting 71 percent from the floor and 50 percent from three point range – while adding nine rebounds, two steals and two blocks to her totals.
As for Zieverink, her 19-point, 10-rebound effort has become the norm in what has been a standout career for the senior from West Chester, Ohio. The forward, who now sits at 1,110 points for her career, is the 29th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
In addition to the efforts of the above trio, Shawnee State also obtained excellent efforts from Brown and Feuchter, as the pair combined for 20 points on nearly 55 percent shooting from the field – including 60 percent from three-point range.
The Bears will grab a week of rest before opening Mid-South Conference play with a major test as Shawnee State will host the No. 1 team in the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Preseason Poll and a 2015 NAIA Division I Final Four participant in Campbellsville at Frank & Janis Waller Gymnasium. The contest is slated for a 6 p.m. tipoff.