Salukis Suffer Loss to Northern Iowa, 78-48

    Dyana Pierre led the Salukis in scoring for the 10th time this year.

    Dyana Pierre led the Salukis in scoring for the 10th time this year.
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    Feb. 6, 2014

    By John Lock

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    CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois women's basketball team started slow in both halves and dropped a Thursday night contest to Northern Iowa at SIU Arena, 78-48. Dyana Pierre led the Salukis with 15 points.

    The Salukis were nearly even in most statistical categories except 3-pointers, where UNI made nine compared to SIU's one. Points in the paint and second-chance points were even; SIU won the points-off-turnovers battle; SIU committed just 12 turnovers, its fewest since Dec. 4; and the Salukis had six more field-goal attempts than the Panthers. But head coach Cindy Stein and the players agreed that effort was the difference in the 30-point game.

    "The one thing we're trying to focus on is energy," senior guard Jordyn Courier said. "I don't think we brought as much as we needed to, especially on defense."

    UNI came out of the gates hot, hitting seven of its first nine shots to take an 18-7 lead. The Panthers extended the lead out to 29-11, but Southern's defense stiffened for the rest of the first half. Holding the Panthers to 5-of-19 shooting over the last 15 minutes, the Salukis used an 8-2 run in the last four minutes and crawled back within 12 at halftime. But UNI started the second half just like the first, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead back to 18, and SIU would never seriously threaten again.

    "Northern Iowa plays smart, and they play together," Stein said. "They make great reads off of how you defend. The problem was our defense. We let them catch; we didn't follow them. We were always trailing them. You can't play chase defense against a team that moves the ball well. They can all take it to the basket; they can all dribble; they can all shoot the three."

    Outside of the 8-2 spurt at the end of the first half, Southern's offense never got rolling. The Salukis won the offensive rebounding battle with 11 offensive rebounds but had just six second-chance points and shot 31 percent from the field, including 28 percent in the second half. The Panthers chose to let Jen Keitel play one-on-one with SIU leading scorer Dyana Pierre in the post for most of the game. Pierre put in a team-high 15 points but used 13 shots to get there.

    Jordyn Courier played a great first half, scoring nine points and grabbing five rebounds while playing all 20 minutes. Azia Washington added seven points and five rebounds for the Salukis. Stein played all nine available players played double-digit minutes again, looking for a spark. Southern will get its next chance on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. CST against Drake at SIU Arena.

    "The best thing I can say is that we will not be playing this way in the future," Stein said. "We will find a way."