The Urbana University women’s basketball team opened the season Sunday afternoon by avenging a loss to regional rival Slippery Rock University. In last year’s opener, the Rock beat the Blue Knights on a buzzer beater in Pennsylvania. Urbana didn’t need a buzzer beater in the Grimes Center, rolling the Rock 83-63.
Urbana rained threes on the Rock all afternoon. The Blue Knights shot 12 of 31 from downtown, and five different players sank a shot from deep. Early in the second half, Urbana turned a three-point lead into a 57-41 advantage with the help of three three-pointers in a span of about 90 seconds. Senior point guard DeVonyea Johnson led the way with a 4-for-7 performance from behind the arc. Johnson finished with a game-high 22 points to go with 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. She had 17 points and 8 boards by halftime.
A total of four Blue Knights reached double figures. Sophomore guard Kennedy Boggs bagged 16 points. Junior forward Kate Francisco from Marysville tallied 14 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocked shots, and Katy Barkley boosted Urbana with 11 points and 8 boards off the bench.
The Rock (0-3) was led by their frontcourt. D’Asia Chambers and Jazmyne Frost combined for 37 points and 19 rebounds in the losing effort.
The win was the first in the career of UU head coach Kristina Danella. Danella’s squad hits the road for each of their next four contests. On Tuesday night, the team travels to Edinboro University for another key regional matchup. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.