Junior Jordyn Courier
Jan. 13, 2013
By Bill Ford
EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- The Southern Illinois women's basketball team suffered a 71-65 loss to Evansville on the road Sunday afternoon.
The Salukis (4-10, 1-2 MVC) overcame a 21-point first-half deficit to take a lead for parts of the second half, but the Purple Aces (4-10, 2-1 MVC) hit timely shots late in the game and out-rebounded SIU 41-26.
"We shot the ball enough to win the game, we just didn't guard when we needed to and get key rebounds," said SIU head coach Missy Tiber. "I told the team you can't expect to go on the road and win a game when you get out-rebounded by 15."
SIU opened the game strong, jumping out to a 7-2 lead before Evansville battled back to tie the game at 11-11 with 12:31 left in the first half. The Aces out-scored the Salukis 23-2 over the ensuing five minutes to take the biggest lead of the day at 34-13.
Just when it looked like Evansville might run away with it, the Salukis launched a furious comeback in the final eight minutes of the half. Sparked by a 14-0 run, Southern ended the half on a 21-3 rally to pull within 37-34 at the half.
"We went to more of a guard lineup. We made two threes right away and kind of got some energy back," Tiber said of the late first-half comeback. "We were just moving the ball really well and making some shots."
SIU continued its run out of halftime, pushing its way into a 44-43 lead five minutes into the second half on a 3-point play by Cartaesha Macklin. The two teams battled back and forth through the rest of the second half with five ties and eight lead changes in the period as neither team led by more than four until the closing minutes.
Tiber said the critical play of the game was a 3-pointer by UE guard Khristian Hart to give the Aces a 63-61 lead with 3:11 left in the game. Hart knocked down the trey at the end of the shot clock after a strong defensive set by the Salukis.
SIU tied the game on a layup by Macklin a minute later, but Evansville scored the next four unanswered. Azia Washington hit a layup to pull SIU within 67-65 with under a minute to play, but the Aces hit another basket at the shot clock buzzer on the other end to push the game back to two possessions with 30 seconds left.
Trailing 69-65, SIU missed a 3-pointer and fouled Hart on the rebound. Hart, who finished with a game-high 26 points, hit both of her free throws with eight seconds left to put the game out of reach.
Tiber said the main frustration of the game was her team's inability to rebound during key stretches. Evansville collected 13 offensive rebounds in the game and scored 16 second-chance points.
"There were countless times in the last five minutes of the game we would stop them and there was a rebound and we didn't get it," Tiber said.
The Salukis are on the road again next week facing Indiana State Thursday and Illinois State Saturday.