Sophomore guard Cartaesha Macklin
March 3, 2013
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois women's basketball team stuck with Northern Iowa through the first 32 minutes, but faded down the stretch in a 74-60 loss to the Panthers Sunday at SIU Arena.
The Salukis (4-23, 1-15 MVC) trailed by just three points with 8:27 remaining, but couldn't hold off a 13-3 run by the Panthers (14-14, 9-7 MVC) in the following five minutes that turned out to be the difference in the game.
Sunday's loss marked the sixth time in the last seven games Southern has been within striking distance of its opponent in the second half.
"In those pivotal moments when it could swing either way, it has always swung the opponent's way," said SIU interim head coach Adrianne Harlow. "That is really the only thing we have left to learn. When you have to make a play, it is absolutely important that you make a play. Right now, we aren't making them."
Southern started the game strong, jumping out to a 11-4 lead in the first five minutes. The Panthers slowly worked their way back thanks to some long-range shooting by senior forward Jess McDowell. UNI used a 10-0 run to take a 16-13 lead by the 12:42 mark.
SIU bounced back, however, and the score see-sawed back and forth throughout much of the remainder of the half. The two teams had four ties and five lead changes in the first half before UNI used a 4-0 run to take a 36-32 lead into the break.
Southern cut the Panther advantage to one point in the first three minutes of the half, and the back-and-forth exchange continued through the first 12 minutes of the second half. UNI extended the lead to 47-41 at the 12:05 mark, but Southern answered with a 3-pointer by Rishonda Napier to close back within one possession.
UNI finally extended the lead beyond two possessions with a pair of free throws by Hannah Schonhardt with 6:34 to play. Southern struggled to find a foothold in the remainder of the game as the senior-led Panthers pulled away late for the 14-point win.
"I though we did an outstanding job stopping her from her own points," Harlow said of Kalin. " She is so intelligent, and she just manages the game. She pretty much dominates the ball as far as how she creates for people. In those pivotal moments, she pretty much managed them into a win."
Southern let McDowell shake free for six total 3-pointers as she finished with a game-high 22 points.
"I was most disappointed defensively in that," Harlow said of guarding McDowell. "We knew she made seven (3-pointers) last game. We just left her open too many times, and to her credit she knocked them down."
Southern clinched the 10th seed in the MVC Tournament with the loss. The Salukis close out the regular season March 7 at Drake and March 9 at Creighton.