Nov. 19, 2008
By Shalae Patrick
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Jasmine Gibson and Katrina Swingler each posted double-doubles to help push the Southern Illinois women's basketball team to 2-0 on the season with a big win over Arkansas State, 79-76, in SIU Arena Wednesday night.
The Salukis played an aggressive first half, holding their largest lead of the game, 51-32, with just over 19 minutes left in the ball game before the Red Wolves fought back to come within two points of the Salukis, 76-74, in the final minute of play.
"I think that this game is a huge win," Saluki head coach Dana Eikenberg said. "(The game was) obviously a tale of two halves, but I thought our team came together and played hard. It wasn't pretty, but we showed some guts and I'm not sure if that could have happened without a total team effort."
Southern dominated the first half, shooting nearly 52 percent (17-of-33) from the field and out-rebounding ASU 25-to-14. The Salukis took advantage of 13 first-half turnovers from the Red Wolves scoring 18 points off of the miscues to take a commanding 47-29 lead into the locker room at the break.
The Red Wolves turned the tables in the second half, out-scoring the Salukis, 47-32, mounting a 22-8 run at the 11 minute mark to pull within three, 71-68, with just under three minutes in the game. ASU turned the ball over just four times in the second half, this time taking advantage of 12 Saluki turnovers.
Southern was clutch at the line shooting over 83 percent (25-of-30), 15-of-17 in the second half.
"We are still teaching in practice how to fight fatigue," Eikenberg said, "how to not let it overcome you. When you fight fatigue, you push yourself one more level and that lets you expand your boundaries as a player."
For the second-straight game, Swingler led her team in scoring with 26 points, 11 boards. The sophomore was 8-of-12 from the field and a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line for the first double-double of her career before fouling out with just under four minutes to play.
Gibson pitched in 15 points and 15 rebounds, including seven offensive boards for her third-career double-double. Gibson also left the game with five fouls with under a second left in the contest.
Freshman Olivia Lett pitched in 17 points to go with four assists and two steals for the Salukis.
Shay Scott, Veronica Smith and Shania Hearst scored 13 points each to lead the Red Wolf offense.
The Salukis will endure their first road test of the season when they travel out of the country to The Bahamas to take part in the Junkanoo Jam. Friday, Nov. 28, SIU will take on SEC foe Florida for a 12 p.m. tip-off, before facing either No. 18/17 Arizona State or Hofstra on Saturday, Nov. 29.