Indiana State tops Salukis 77-64

    Sophomore guard Cartaesha Macklin

    Sophomore guard Cartaesha Macklin
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    Feb. 16, 2013

    Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

    By Bill Ford

    CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois women's basketball team couldn't sustain the momentum from a strong opening half in a 77-64 loss to Indiana State Saturday afternoon at SIU Arena.

    The Salukis (4-19, 1-11 MVC) led by as much as 15 in the opening frame and went into halftime up 42-36 after posting their best shooting percentage in a half this season at 56.7 percent (17-for-30). Unfortunately, Southern's shooting percentage dropped to 22.2 percent in the second half, and the Sycamores (16-8, 8-5 MVC) out-scored SIU 41-22 after the break.

    "It was really awesome at the beginning of the game, even through the whole first half, but I was a little bit concerned," said SIU interim head coach Adrianne Harlow. "They were so proud of what they had done and excited that I thought it was going to be hard to come out.

    "As things started to go bad, we kind of let it spiral instead of sticking with the game plan. We kind of let panic set in."

    SIU opened the game hot, hitting eight of its first 10 field goals to jump out to a 21-6 lead five and-half-minutes into the game. The Salukis gave ISU fits with the full-court press early in the game, forcing six turnovers and scoring in transition.

    The Sycamores battled back with some hot shooting by junior guard Anna Munn, who scored 18 of her team's 24 points during an eight minute stretch in which ISU closed with 34-32 with 4:01 left in the half.

    "We were stuck to her. She was making ridiculous shots," Harlow said of Munn. "I can't tell you one time where she was wide open. She was just having one of those nights where everything was going in."

    The Salukis got back into the press in the final four minutes and closed the half on a 10-2 run.

    "That first half really shows what we could be," Harlow said.

    Southern's shooting to begin the second half was a stark contrast from the way the Salukis opened the game. SIU started the second frame 1-for-11 from the field as the Sycamores leapfrogged into the lead 56-46 by the 10:30 mark.

    "We just went so cold. We were making the exact same shots in the first half, and now we aren't making the shots," Harlow said. "Instead of being resilient, we fell into the downward spiral instead of fighting back."

    SIU couldn't get the same transition opportunities in the second half because of their inability to score and get back into the press.

    "We didn't back off (of the press) as much as we weren't scoring. If you can't score, you can't press," Harlow said. "We were missing our free throws -- which is a great time to do it."

    Southern's second-half struggles were compounded by the fact its top scorer, Cartaesha Macklin, was forced to the bench early with four fouls, and leading rebounder Dyana Pierre came out with four fouls shortly thereafter.

    "We got in foul trouble, and that really set us back," Harlow said. "Cartaesha was really being a catalyst in the first half. That really took the wind out of our sails when she went out. She was putting so much pressure on them in the full court, and they couldn't do anything with it."

    The Salukis fell behind by as much as 20 with 2:50 left in the game before getting some late buckets to close the final margin to 13.

    Macklin led four Salukis in double figures with 18 points while Rishonda Napier had 12 points, Jordyn Courier had 11 points and Dyana Pierre posted her second-consecutive double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Munn led the Sycamores with 27 points while Racheal Mahan had 22 points and 10 rebounds.

    The Salukis hit the road next week, traveling to Missouri State February 21 and Wichita State February 23.