Feb. 21, 2009
By Shalae Patrick
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois (8-16, 4-11) women's basketball team shot 57 percent from the field and 86 percent from the free throw line in the second half to take down Indiana State (12-13, 8-6) Saturday afternoon in Missouri Valley Conference play, 74-71.
Jasmine Gibson led the Salukis with 23 points in front of the sixth-largest crowd in program history in SIU Arena at the Third Annual "Pink Out" for breast cancer awareness.
"This was a great win for us, hard fought," Saluki head coach Dana Eikenberg said. "Ugly, but we'll take it."
The game was tied 26-all at the break, the lead changing four times, tied six times.
The Salukis held their largest lead of the first half 22-15 following a 3-point play by Katrina Swingler, making the bucket, drawing the foul and draining the free throw at the 10:14 mark.
The Sycamores closed the half on an 11-to-4 run to make things even at the break.
"I wasn't really happy at half," Eikenberg said. "I really challenged our seniors to step up."
The seniors accepted the challenge, Gibson scoring 20 of her team-high 23 points in the second half, while Kaci Bailey exploded for four second-half threes. Erica Smith hit five free throws and pulled down six of her game-high 12 boards in the second period.
Indiana State's Bianca Jarrett hit a jumper to put her team up two to start the half, Bailey answered with a three to take the lead again.
The Sycamores' Brittany Schoen drained her own three to give her team their final lead of the game, 31-29, before two Smith free throws and another Bailey three would put Southern back on top.
Indiana State would tie the game two more times, but couldn't regain the lead. The Salukis led by as many as eight, 71-63, with 44 seconds left.
"Jasmine's play in the second half was a difference and Kaci's shots were gutsy and full of confidence," Eikenberg added. "Defensively, it wasn't one of our best, but I thought we battled."
INS' Jarrett finished with a game-high 32 points including five threes.
"What a show," Eikenberg said. "I don't know if we had anybody that could stop her. We were concerned about their post play and I thought we did a good job of eliminating that."
"I'm proud of the team for the battles that they faced this weekend," Eikenberg said. "Now we have to go steal a couple on the road."
The Salukis take their final road trip of the regular season, playing at Wichita State Friday, Feb. 27, and Missouri State Sunday, March 1.