Urbana University’s Tyra James recorded the third triple-double in school history to lead the Blue Knights past West Liberty University, 87-73, in the conference opener for both teams Saturday at the Grimes Center.
UU (4-2, 1-0 MEC) had five players score in double figures, led by James’ 27 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. The Cincinnati native produced the first triple-double during the NCAA Division II era.
Sylvia Hudson had 16 points, moving her into seventh place on UU’s all-time scoring list, and her six rebounds lifted her into sixth place all-time in school history.
UU also got solid scoring efforts from Bailey Draughn (12), Weston Minnich (11 points, 8 rebounds) and Kami McEldowney (11 points). Minnich and McEldowney combined for 20 points in the first half while Draughn reached double digits for the fifth time.
The Blue Knights overcame an early 8-2 deficit as back-to-back treys from Minnich tied the game, then a jumper from James put UU in front midway through the first quarter. UU remained out in front and built an 11-point lead at halftime, 42-31, after shooting 58 percent in the second quarter.
From there it was smooth sailing as UU never trailed again after the slow start, leading by as many as 24 in the third quarter after coming out of the break on a 15-2 run.
Overall, UU shot a season-high 55 percent from the floor and knocked down 20 of 25 free-throw attempts. The Blue Knights also logged a season-high eight blocks while holding a 47-39 advantage in rebounds.
West Liberty (3-2, 0-1 MEC) was paced by Taylor Johnson’s 21 points and eight rebounds. Olivia Belknap chipped in with 13 points. The Hilltoppers’ leading scorer Morgan Brunner (3 points) left the game due to injury.
UU plays at Wheeling on Tuesday for a 5:30 p.m. conference tilt against the Cardinals.
UU men fall
West Liberty University downed UU, 101-76, in the men’s basketball game on Saturday.