Jan. 14, 2012
By Bill Ford
OMAHA, Neb. -- Timely shooting late in the game helped Creighton survive the Southern Illinois women's basketball team in a 66-59 Bluejay victory Saturday at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Crieghton hit three 3-pointers to spark a 9-2 run and give the Bluejays a 60-48 lead with 4:08 to play. Southern resorted to fouling late and Creighton hit five of six free throws in the final 30 seconds to hold off the Salukis.
"We gave up those crucial threes that were just daggers. That really hurt us," said SIU head coach Missy Tiber. "I am proud of our kids -- they way we practiced yesterday and we carried it over today. I loved our effort."
Southern (3-13, 0-6 MVC) jumped out to a 6-0 lead to start the game and extended the advantage to as much as seven points at 16-9 with 13:15 remaining in the half. The Salukis only scored four points over the next 10 minutes however, as the Bluejays (8-8, 2-3 MVC) mounted a 19-4 run to lead 28-20.
The Salukis finally shook loose for a 6-0 run near the end of the half to close within 28-26 before Creighton guard Carli Tritz hit a shot late to take a four-point cushion into halftime. SIU was whistled for 14 fouls in the first half and the Bluejays took advantage, going 11-for-13 from the free throw line in the opening period.
Crieghton went back up eight to open the second half, but the Salukis matched them blow-for-blow over the opening 10 minutes of the half. Southern eventually cut the Bluejay lead to 43-42 on a layup and a free throw by Antishia Wright at the 10:15 mark.
The two teams again traded baskets over the next three minutes until the Bluejays extended their lead to double figures for the first time with their late flurry of 3-pointers.
Creighton struggled to a 26.7 percent shooting clip in the first half, but improved to a 35.1 percentage in the second.
"We were out-rebounding them in the first half, and we didn't in the second half. I think that became a key factor in the game," Tiber said. "They were also scoring more consistently, so we didn't have as many opportunities for rebounds either."
Cartaesha Macklin led a balanced SIU scoring attack with 12 points while Ariel Haynes chipped in 10 and Teri Oliver added eight. Ten players registered in the scoring column for the Salukis. Alexus Patterson led the Southern in rebounding with 11 boards.
"Cartaesha and Teri didn't have the best game, but we had other players step up and make plays when we needed it," Tiber said.
The Salukis return to Carbondale Thursday, Jan. 19 to take on Missouri State before hosting Wichita State Saturday, Jan. 21.
"I told the girls after the game, we've just got to stay focused. As tough as it is and as much as we want to win, we just have to keep working," Tiber said. "It's eventually going to come for us. Everybody can see how hard these kids are fighting and that we are right there."
Note: The loss marked Southern's 24th-consecutive Missouri Valley Conference loss, which ties the MVC record set by Bradley between 1999 and 2000.