Freshman guard Rishonda Napier
Feb. 2, 2013
By Bill Ford
PEORIA, Ill.— The Southern Illinois women’s basketball team closed the first half of Missouri Valley Conference play at 1-8 after suffering a 90-48 loss Saturday afternoon at Bradley.
The Braves (9-11, 3-6 MVC) dominated the opening 26 minutes of the game, and the Salukis (4-16, 1-8 MVC) couldn’t muster enough firepower to battle back. Bradley took a 54-20 lead into halftime and extended the margin to 49 points with 13:52 remaining in the game before settling on the 42-point win.
“We tried basically every defensive thing besides pressing,” said SIU interim head coach Adrianne Harlow. “We played zone, we played man. We just don’t have a real buy-in to stop anybody. We just want to play on one end of the court.”
The two teams traded baskets through the opening five minutes of the game before BU opened up a double-digit lead with a 20-3 run over the ensuing eight minutes to go up 35-12 with 8:15 left in the half. The Braves continued their dominant tear in the final eight minutes, out-scoring the Salukis 19-8 to close the half.
SIU struggled to a 25.8 percent shooting clip in the first half (8-for-31), including going 1-for-11 from 3-point range (9.1 percent).
“We just couldn’t keep up with them scoring-wise. We had tons and tons of open shots, we just couldn’t find the basket today,” Harlow said. “We had 38, 40 percent shooters wide open with literally no one by them. I don’t know that you can turn those down every time. You’ve got to hit a shot at some point.”
Southern’s two biggest recurring troubles throughout the season — turnovers and troubles rebounding — continued to plague the Salukis against Bradley. The Braves scored 15 points off 13 SIU turnovers in the first half and also had 14 second-chance points after pulling down 10 offensive rebounds in the opening frame.
SIU opens the second half of MVC play against Evansville February 9 at SIU Arena in what will be Southern’s annual Pink Out game.