Creighton downs Salukis 81-60

    Redshirt-freshman center Dyana Pierre

    Redshirt-freshman center Dyana Pierre
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    Jan. 3, 2013

    Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

    By Bill Ford

    CARBONDALE, Ill.— The Southern Illinois women’s basketball team couldn’t slow down a hot-shooting Creighton squad in an 81-60 loss to the Bluejays Thursday night at SIU Arena.

    Creighton (9-3, 1-0 MVC) shot 54.2 percent form the floor and 40 percent from 3-point range as the Salukis (3-9, 0-1 MVC) struggled to stall the Jays defensively.

    “We just had too many letdowns,” said SIU head coach Missy Tiber. “To allow them to shoot 54 percent form the field, we just didn’t guard them on the ball-side basket cuts. We need to get better at that.”

    Southern had its best success against Creighton in the first 12 minutes of the game. The Salukis traded blows with the Jays through a low-scoring opening 10 minutes before taking their first lead of the night at 17-16 on a 3-pointer by Rishonda Napier at the 8:49 mark.

    Creighton responded with a 9-0 run, however, and eventually pushed the margin to 12-points at halftime, leading 41-29.

    “I thought early on the kids were really doing what we wanted to. It was close to a tie until about the seven-minute mark of the first half,” Tiber said. “Then, unfortunately, we just lost what we were doing defensively.”

    The Bluejays opened the second half on a 7-0 run to extend the margin to 48-29 before the Salukis started working the ball inside to Dyana Pierre. Pierre scored seven straight points to help SIU pull back within 59-36 before going down with an injury.

    Pierre eventually re-entered the game, but her respite took the wind out of SIU’s sails and Creghton took advantage. The Bluejays pushed the margin over 20 for the first time midway through the half and led by 26 with 8:05 left before settling on the 21-point win.

    “(Creighton) is darn good. They may be the best basketball team that I’ve seen since I’ve been here in four years,” Tiber said.

    Napier led SIU with 16 points while Pierre added 12 points and seven rebounds and Cartaesha Macklin chipped in 11 points and four assists. Sarah Nelson led four Bluejays in double figures with 18 points and eight rebounds while Marissa Janning added 14 points and five assists.

    SIU is back at the Arena Saturday looking for its first Missouri Valley Conference win against Drake.

    “I told our kids after the game, we didn’t win and we did a lot of bad, but we did some good too,” Tiber said. “We just have to do more good. We are capable when we put our minds to it of doing what we need to. We just have to do it for longer stretches.”