SIU Falls to Loyola, 67-56

    Dyana Pierre posted her MVC-leading 12th double-double of the season with 18 points and 18 rebounds.

    Dyana Pierre posted her MVC-leading 12th double-double of the season with 18 points and 18 rebounds.
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    March 6, 2014

    By John Lock

    Final Stats | Final Stats (PDF)

    CHICAGO, Ill. - The Southern Illinois women's basketball team lost to Loyola on Thursday night, 67-56. Dyana Pierre put up her third-straight double-double with 18 points and 18 rebounds, but Loyola's Becca Smith was the star of the game, nearly securing a triple-double with six points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists.

    "We started out extremely flat," head coach Cindy Stein. "The atmosphere is dead in here. You have to create your own energy and your own excitement, and we did not."

    SIU (5-23, 3-14 MVC) started with a quick bucket to get a 2-0 lead, but Loyola's 2-3 zone stifled the Salukis. Dyana Pierre, the MVC Player of the Week after averaging 25.0 points last weekend, found herself double- and triple-teamed in the zone and was held without a field goal in the first half. Needing some outside shooting to open up the inside game, SIU shot just 2-for-20 from the 3-point line.

    Pierre figured out the defense in the second half and finished with 18 points and 18 rebounds, her third-straight 15-point, 15-rebound double-double. Pierre has an MVC-leading 12 double-doubles this year and 21 for her career, which is tied for 13th in MVC history.

    "It's a scary thing, isn't it? She had 18 points and 18 rebounds, and she had a bad game," Stein said. "She was not as strong as she normally is defensively."

    SIU controlled the boards, grabbing 24 offensive rebounds and outrebounding the Ramblers by 16, but it was Loyola that controlled the paint with a 44-24 edge in points in the paint.



    Loyola pushed their lead up to 19 points in the opening moments of the second half. The Salukis made a push and got within 11 after a 10-2 run, but Loyola responded with a 10-2 run of their own. SIU would not go away, however, making one final run in the last few minutes to ignite the pro-SIU crowd at Gentile Arena.

    "When you're trying to dig out of a hole, you have to play with a lot of passion," Stein said. "The group that we had in there pressing and getting some turnovers--it was a little too late, but at least they were digging down and trying to make something happen."

    Azia Washington made a pair of free throws with 1:14 remaining to get Southern within single-digits, but the Salukis would get no closer. Washington played well, scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds in the game. Jordyn Courier continued to play well down the stretch and finished with nine points, four rebounds and three assists.

    Loyola clinched the No. 8 seed in next weekend's MVC tournament with the win. Southern Illinois will have an opportunity for a third matchup against the Ramblers if it can beat Bradley on Saturday afternoon.

    UP NEXT: The Salukis play Bradley on Saturday afternoon in the regular-season finale. The winner of the SIU-Bradley contest will be the No. 9 seed in the MVC tournament, and the loser will be the No. 10 seed.