SIU Offense Comes to Life but Salukis Fall to Missouri State, 93-76

    Dyana Pierre had 27 points and 18 rebounds, her second 25-point, 15-rebound game of the season.

    Dyana Pierre had 27 points and 18 rebounds, her second 25-point, 15-rebound game of the season.
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    Feb. 27, 2014

    By John Lock

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    CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois women's basketball team shook off a season worth of offensive frustration but ran out of gas in an up-and-down battle with Missouri State. The Salukis lost 93-76 at SIU Arena despite 27 points and 18 rebounds from Dyana Pierre and a career-high 21 points from Jordyn Courier.

    "We moved the ball. We saw the open kid. We played hard defensively right from the get-go," head coach Cindy Stein said. "Our kids started our aggressive; I like that. Our weakness all season long has been being able to sustain that effort. Sometimes it's because of fouls and turnovers. Once we get that, I think we can be pretty good."

    Coming off a program low 31 points last weekend against Evansville, Southern (4-22, 2-13 MVC) started fast offensively. Behind three Courier 3-pointers, the Salukis led by as many as 11 points in the opening minutes. Southern had 45 points in the first half, its second-best scoring half of the year, and ended up with 76 points, the most for the team since scoring 100 points in the MVC-opener against Bradley.

    Defensively, both Stein and the players agreed that SIU wore down as the up-and-down game - which saw 146 total shots taken between the two teams - progressed. Courier, Pierre and Mercedes Griffin all played at least 38 minutes. After holding the Lady Bears to 43 percent shooting in the first half, Southern allowed Missouri State (13-14, 8-8 MVC) to shoot 58 percent in the second half.

    "I want to see that fight we had in the first half continue for 40 minutes," Stein said. "That's when you know your team is starting to click."

    As Southern's players wore down, Missouri State extended its pressure defense and ended up scoring 31 points on 18 SIU turnovers. Forty of MSU's 52 second-half points came in the paint. The Lady Bears finished through contact and racked up eight three-point play opportunities in the game.

    "We turned over the ball a lot at that high post area," Stein said. "It's one thing if you turn it over on the baseline; but at that high post area, they get out and run."

    Dyana Pierre, the MVC's active leader in career double-doubles, played one of her best games of the season. Pierre scored her game-high 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting and brought down 18 rebounds, 10 of which were offensive. Pierre notched a double-double in the second half alone, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in the second period.

    Pierre recorded at least 15 points and 15 rebounds for the fifth time in her career and now has 19 career double-doubles, which ties her for 15th in MVC history.

    Courier, playing in her second-to-last home game of her career, notched a career-high 21 points and made five 3-pointers for the fourth time in her career. Courier started her ninth-straight game and has averaged 9.6 points per game in that span, which ranks second on the team.

    "Dyana and Jordyn both had tremendous games today," head coach Cindy Stein said. "It's unfortunate that we lost, because they both had outstanding efforts."

    Mercedes Griffin turned in a full stat line, with eight points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists with no turnovers while playing all 40 minutes.

    UP NEXT: The Salukis are the night cap of a men's and women's basketball double-header on Saturday. The SIU men's team plays Illinois State at 3:05 p.m., and the women's team will take on Wichita State at 6:05 p.m. The Shockers are leading the MVC with a 13-3 record but have lost three of their last four.

    "I want to see a great crowd," Stein said. "I want a lot of people to stay after the men's game."