Jan. 3, 2003
Kari Koch scored 18 points, including 13 in the second half to lead Southwest Missouri State (5-5, 1-0) to a 69-56 win over Southern Illinois (4-5, 0-1) earlier tonight in both teams' Missouri Valley Conference opener at SIU Arena.
The win marked SMS' 12th straight over SIU, as the Salukis haven't beaten the Lady Bears since 1997.
Despite turning the ball over 16 times in the game's opening 20 minutes, SMS managed to lead most of the first half. With 10:06 left to play, SIU missed nine straight shots, and the Lady Bears built a 21-13 lead, capped off by a Meg Tierney free throw at the 8:41 mark.
SIU, who went scoreless for 4:25, received a big boost from Danette Jones who came off the bench to score eight points in 2:21. Jones hit a pair of jumpers (6:08;4:50) and a free throw (5:29), before knocking down a three-pointer to pull the Dawgs to within two (23-21) with 4:27 remaining.
Shortly after Jones' lift, Wendy Goodman scored on a jumper underneath to tie the game at 23-23. Although committing six turnovers, while going scoreless for 4:05, SMS fought off the Saluki attack and regained a 27-25 lead at the break.
Jones (8) and Jodi Heiden (8) each came off the bench to combine for 16 of the Salukis' first 25 points. SIU also hit just 11-of-38 field goals for a .289 percentage.
SMS immediately took control of the game in the second half, stringing together a 23-11 run to post its biggest lead at 50-36 with 11:10 remaining.
Koch, who was held to just five points in the first half, came alive to score 10 during the rally which ended on her own jumper.
The Salukis, however, kept fighting and scored seven points in 1:36 to cut the Lady Bears' lead to 63-56. Heiden scored four points and Hillary Phillips posted three, but the late threat wasn't enough as SMS held on for the 69-56 win.
Koch shot 8-of-13 from the field, including 2-of-3 from three-point range to lead all Lady Bear scorers. Morgan Hohenberger (14) and Nicole Lehman (13) also scored double-figures, while Tierney registered a double-double 13 points, 11 boards.
Heiden and Jones each ended up with 14 points apiece to lead the Dawgs. The duo's 28 points off the bench outscored SIU's entire starting five which joined forces for just 26 points. Molly McDowell, the team's leading scorer, did not score a point, marking the first time going scoreless since Feb. 5, 2000.
"As a staff we weren't happy with our post defense and we felt like we didn't move our feet defensively," said head coach Lori Opp. "SMS had several offensive boards and when you're on defense, you can't do that. On the offensive end for us, we were one and done and that certainly doesn't help when you're not making shots."
SIU returns to league play on Sunday, Jan. 5 when it hosts Wichita State at 2:05 p.m.