Junior guard/forward Jordyn Courier
Feb. 9, 2013
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois women's basketball team played its finest defensive game of the season, but couldn't find the offense to match in a 52-41 loss to Evansville Saturday at SIU Arena.
The Salukis (4-17, 1-9 MVC) held the Purple Aces (8-13, 6-4 MVC) to the lowest scoring output of any opponent this season, but Southern also tied its worst point total of the year.
"I thought the team played incredibly hard. They just laid it all out tonight and it was disappointing for them to lose when they put so much effort into it," said SIU interim head coach Adrianne Harlow. "We just couldn't hit shots today."
The game was a defensive struggle from the opening tip. The two teams battled back-and-forth with neither team leading by more than four points in the first half. There were five ties and five lead changes before the Salukis and the Aces settled on a 19-19 halftime tie.
The see-saw continued through the opening minutes of the second half before Evansville finally broke through with a key 13-0 run to go up 34-24 with 13:16 remaining in the game.
The run proved to be crucial for the Aces, as the remainder of the game continued to be a back-and-forth fight. SIU battled back within six a few times through the remainder of the half, but couldn't find a foothold to get any closer.
The difference in the game proved to be free throws and Evansville's efficient second half shooting. The Purple Aces made 10 more free throws than the Salukis, and shot 52.6 percent from the field in the second half compared with SIU's 30.8 percent.
"One of our key points was to finish the givens after we make our defensive stops," Harlow said. "When we got those layups and free throws, which are given opportunities, we weren't putting them in consistently."
Cartaesha Macklin finished with 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and seven steals for one of her best overall games thus far in MVC play.
"To me, that was the Cartaesha that played all last year that we have been hoping would show herself," Harlow said. "That was just her playing and not thinking about it. She was all over the court, and that is what we have to have from her. I was very proud of her."
Also for the Salukis, Jordyn Courier chipped in 10 points and Rishonda Napier added nine while Azia Washington pulled down a team-high nine rebounds. Mallory Ladd led Evansville with 16 points and 12 rebounds while Kat Taylor added 15 points and Samantha Heck chipped in 11 points and 11 rebounds.
The Salukis continue what will be a three-game homestand February 14 against Illinois State and February 16 against Indiana State.