Freshman Azia Washington posted double-doubles in both SIU's exhibition games.
Nov. 6, 2012
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois women's basketball team used a strong opening half to cruise past Missouri-St. Louis 72-48 in exhibition action Tuesday night at SIU Arena.
The Salukis shot a blistering 59.3 percent in the first half (16-for-27) en route to a 39-15 halftime lead. The early domination proved crucial as the Tritons matched SIU point for point in the second half.
"From a coaches perspective I think its kind of a tale of two halves for me," said SIU head coach Missy Tiber. "I was pretty pleased with them at the half. The second half I was just not as happy with them."
Southern's early game success was fueled by a stingy defense that at one point held UMSL scoreless over a six-minute stretch. The Salukis scored 17 points in the first half off 15 Tritons turnovers and held UMSL to a 24.0 percent shooting percentage (6-for-25) in the opening frame. SIU routinely pushed the Tritons deep into the shot clock before forcing a tough shot.
"I thought I offensive efficiency was very good and defensively I thought we were playing the way we needed to," Tiber said of the first half.
The defensive effort that carried SIU early disappeared in the second half. UMSL opened the second half on a 5-1 run and matched their first-half point total within the first 10 minutes of the second half. The Tritons ultimately more than doubled their first half output with 33 second-half points.
Despite the defensive struggles, SIU maintained its offensive pace from the first half, scoring 33 points on a 53.8 percent clip (14-for-26) after the break.
"I think it was a little bit of a maturity issue of how you handle when you're up 24 at the half with a young team," Tiber said. "I think we did get some good things today, but I'm a little disappointed in our effort in the second half."
Cartaesha Macklin led the Salukis with 16 points and six assists while Alexus Patterson added 12 points and seven rebounds and Azia Washington had 11 points and 12 boards. Also for SIU, Rishonda Napier chipped in eight points and six assists while Dyana Pierre had eight points and four boards.
Having swept its exhibition competition, Southern will open its regular season Nov. 13 against Central Arkansas at SIU Arena.
"These two (exhibition) games were to show if everybody was ready or not and some kids are just not ready," Tiber said. "I told them that's okay. You just have to come into practice and work real hard to be ready."