Updated: Sunday, 16 Dec 2012, 12:03 AM EST
Published : Sunday, 16 Dec 2012, 12:03 AM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Hard to beat balance. That's why NAIA seventh-ranked University of Saint Francis matched the school record for wins to start this season with a 78-67 win over Urbana University at Hutzell Athletic Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Cougars improved to 11-0 with the win over the NCAA Division II member with balanced scoring against a taller challenger. Kayla Drake led USF with 22 points. Skylarr Shurn added 18 points, Kalah Baer 12 off the bench and Jenelle Wilson scored 11 for the Lady Cougars. The 11-0 start ties the 1999-00 team for the most wins to start a season.
USF will go for the record number of wins on Tuesday at Indiana Tech.
USF's balance helped offset a 31-point effort from UU sophomore guard Ciara Geiger, a Carroll High School graduate. She connected on 9-of-13 shots from the 3-point arc to tie the Blue Knights' single-game record, but UU (2-9) never got closer than the final 11-point difference in the second half.
"Offensively, we played well, spread them out and knocked down shots inside and outside," USF Head Coach Gary Andrews said. "We got some huge minutes from Kalah (Baer) and Jessica (Harrison). When they can finish shots like they did today, it gives us another dimension that makes us even harder to defend.
"We are just takin' them one game at a time," Andrews said in reference to the Lady Cougars' start. "We'll enjoy the win and start getting ready for Indiana Tech tomorrow night. That's a good win."
Is the streak on the minds of the Lady Cougars?
"It is a little bit, but honestly, I don't think it is that much at all . . . we really just go out and are trying to win each game as it comes," Wilson said. "Being undefeated makes other teams want to beat us more, but that just gives us more energy. We moved the ball around well today and it was fun."
Drake buried 3-of-5 shots from 3-point range, scored 12 points in the first half and 10 more in the second half to record a season best 22 points.
"We had two weeks off, so we took the time to get healthy, work on some little things we needed to work and we were excited," Drake said. "We hadn't played in two weeks so we were excited to come out and use all that energy."
For Drake, the best remedy for her sore knees was getting some time off.
"It was a combination of the rest and my teammates," Drake said with a smile. Any concern about rust?
"Oh no, not at all, we were ready," Drake said with emphasis.
Baer scored all of her career high 12 points in the first half on 6-for-8 shooting. Harrison, who is a senior in her first year at USF, added seven points including a 3-point play.
"It's easier for me to play against bigger girls and our guards got me the ball and it felt good to contribute," Baer said. "I enjoy getting the ball, make something happen, or if the shots not there I can kick it back to a guard and I know they will knock down shots. We're doing a good job of sharing the ball this season."
USF opened up an 18-11 advantage only to have the Blue Knights charge back to tie the game at 18 with 11:57 to play in the first half. Slusher, who led USF rebounding with 11, drove into the paint and dropped in a 10-foot jumper to regain the lead for the Lady Cougars, 20-18 with 11:46 to play and USF led the rest of the game. Slusher's score started USF on a 22-5 surge to the end of the first half for a 40-23 lead.
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