Score: Evangel 57, Park 45
Records: Evangel (6-5, 4-4), Park (1-11, 0-11)
Location: Ashcroft Center
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Powered by a shutdown defensive effort and Brianna Vogts' 19-point, 14-rebound performance, the Evangel women's basketball team ended a four-game drought with a 57-45 victory over visiting Park Monday evening at the Ashcroft Center.
Keyed by a career-high seven steals from Bayley Harman, EU's defense put the clamps on Park all evening. The Pirates shot just 0.296 (8-of-27) from the field in the second half, as the Crusaders held them scoreless for nearly seven and a half minutes during a critical third-quarter blitz.
Vogts, who finished 6-of-12 from the floor, registered her sixth double-double of the season and helped spark the decisive 11-0 third-period run that turned a three-point contest into a 38-24 EU advantage that the Pirates would never seriously threaten.
Logan Jones scored eight of her 10 second-half points during the Crusaders' critical run, as Evangel outscored Park by a 13-6 margin in the third quarter to gain control of a tight contest.
EU battled back from an early three-point deficit behind a 7-0 scoring run that was sparked by the first of Kohnnar Patton's two three-pointers in the opening half. Vogts and Jones added buckets during the spurt to build a 12-8 EU lead.
Patton canned another trey to open the second-period scoring, as EU tallied 11 of the first 14 points in the quarter to establish a double-digit lead with just under six minutes left on the clock. Harman knocked down a jumper, before Vogts converted two offensive boards into four more Crusader points for a 23-13 advantage.
The Evangel defense would come up big in the second quarter, holding the Pirates scoreless for over three minutes. EU forced 12 Park turnovers in the opening half and shut the Pirates out from beyond the arc (0-for-5).
But the Crusaders struggled to score down the stretch as well, going without a field goal for the final 5:40 of the half. Park chiseled into the margin in the final three minutes, using a pair of Brianna Miller baskets and two Bethaney Gilkey free throws to close the gap to 27-22 at the break.
Kiana Smith, who led the Pirates with 12 points on the night, pulled her club to within three points with her layup just over one minute into the third period.
But that would be the last offense for Park until Miller's basket at the 1:25 mark. A Vogts free throw started the outburst, followed by three baskets and two free throws from Jones in a span of just under two-and-a-half minutes.
Park never recovered, as Vogts scored the first six points of the fourth period to stretch the margin to 18—the largest lead of the night for EU. The Pirates got no closer than 11 points from that point, as the Crusaders wrapped up their seventh consecutive win in their series with Park.
EU forced 23 turnovers and limited Park to 0.333 shooting for the game, including a 1-for-6 effort from three-point range.
Jones finished with 12 points and six boards, while Harman added seven points in helping EU halt its first four-game losing skid since January 2019.
Evangel concludes its two-game home stand Wednesday (Jan. 13) with another 5:30 p.m., Heart Conference contest against Benedictine at the Ashcroft Center.
For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, follow the Crusaders on Facebook at Facebook.com/EUAthletics, Twitter (@EUAthletics), or visit EvangelAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the new Evangel Crusaders GamedayApp through Google Play.