Troy (4-4) trailed 65-59 with 10:08 to go before scoring 19 straight over a five-minute span to take a 79-65 lead. Troy’s defense was the story over the run as Evansville (4-5) missed nine straight shots and committed four turnovers in the five-minute span.
“It was a hard fought game,” Troy head coach Chanda Rigby said. “We tried a lot of defenses in the second half and I’m proud of the girls because we finally dialed the right number and found the defense that would work.”
Harden’s scored 43 points led all scorers. The senior guard was 16-of-27 from the field and 7-of-8 at the line. Harden is now averaging 26.6 points per game on the season.
Brooke Bowie was also in double-figures for Troy with 18 points, including eight during Troy’s second-half run. Bowie had nine rebounds, narrowly missing a double-double, while fellow senior Dominique Ross recorded her first career double-double with 12 points and 12 boards.
Ross, who came off the bench and played a combined 22 minutes in the last four games, played 24 minutes on Sunday and pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds as Troy outrebounded Evansville, 52-49.
The Trojans also blocked five shots, including a season-high three from Kristen Emerson who now has 13 on the year to lead the Sun Belt. Troy held the Purple Aces to 28.6 percent (12-of-42) shooting in the second half after they shot 50.0 percent (18-of-36) in the first half.
Troy shot 44.7 percent (34-of-76) for the game including six 3-pointers. Harden made four of the six as her effort was the third 40-plus point game in Troy’ Divison I era (1993-present). Harden has two of those over the last two weeks (52 vs UAH on November 26).
Troy trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half as Evansville hit 7-of-17 3-pointers in the opening frame. The Purple Aces finished with 14 made 3-pointers, but a lot of the makes in the second half came after Troy had built a double-digit lead.
Evansville was led by Sara Dickey who scored 28, but just seven in the second half as Chant Lewis, among others, pressured Dickey throughout. Kay Taylor scored 21 for the Purple Aces with five assists.
The Trojans return to the court on Saturday when they travel to take on No. 3 Tennessee. Troy and Lady Vols will tip at 1 p.m. CST in a game televised on SportSouth.
For more information on Troy Athletics, visit TroyTrojans.com. Fans can also find Troy on Twitter and Instagram at @TroyAthletics and on Facebook at Facebook.com/TroyAthletics.