Nov. 22, 2011
By Bill Ford
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Coach Missy Tiber’s third trip to play in Tennessee since taking over the reins of the Southern Illinois women’s basketball team was a charm.
Ten of SIU’s 12 players registered in the scoring column, including four in double figures, as the Salukis ran to a convincing 89-68 win over Tennessee State Tuesday night at the Gentry Center.
“It feels like coming home. This is what I was used to when I coached in Tennessee — scoring a lot of points and winning basketball games,” said Tiber, who coached four seasons at Tusculum College in Morristown, Tenn., before taking over at SIU.
The win was an encouraging statement for the Salukis (2-2) in several respects. Four games into the season, SIU has already matched its win total from last year. Additionally, the win marked the second straight for Southern, which hasn’t won back-to-back games since the 2008-09 season.
“I am pleased with the effort. I really believe in this team,” Tiber said. “We’ve had some struggles in the first couple games figuring things out. I feel good about how we are rotating. I feel good about our coaching staff and some adjustments we are making.”
SIU looked to run early and often in the game, racing to a 10-2 start using Tiber’s run-and gun system. Despite a few early turnovers, Southern had its way throughout much of the opening half. Most of Southern’s offense ran through freshman guard Cartaesha Macklin.
“Early on, Cartaesha had two quick turnovers,” Tiber said. “My instincts were to yank her, but the next time down the floor she finger-rolled right down the middle and we were up two-nothing. From there we rolled.”
Macklin’s constant drives to the basket resulted in open looks for her Saluki teammates and routine trips to the free throw line as the Tigers (2-3) resorted to fouling. Macklin scored a team-high 11 points in the first half, eight of which came from the free throw line.
“I think that speaks volumes for our team that Teri did not have to score and we are still capable of doing things,” Tiber said. “We’ve got kids that can come off the bench and do some things. I just liked the contribution of all our kids tonight.”
Tiber said in the halftime locker room, she stressed the importance of the team not taking its foot off the gas pedal. SIU continued pushing the ball throughout the second half as TSU seemed to wear down.
“We were in a timeout, and I said, ‘We’re not worried about winding the shot clock down and holding the lead. We’re going to attack and lengthen that lead.’” Tiber said. “We got back to doing that. Teri hit some crucial threes. From there on out, it was our night.”
Oliver came alive in the second half, scoring 18 points to lead the Salukis in front by as much as 30 points. The Tigers closed the game on a 15-4 run, but SIU already had the game in hand.
Macklin had her finest night thus far in Saluki maroon, scoring a game-high 20 points with seven rebounds and four assists. Charnise Mitchell also added 14 points and seven boards for the Salukis while Brooke LeMar had 11 points and six assists and CiCi Shannon chipped in 14 rebounds and five blocks.
“The last thing I said to them in the huddle before the game was, ‘We are getting on that bus with our second win. We are going to be equal to the amount we had last year, and we are going to keep adding to it,” Tiber said.
The Salukis look to continue their winning streak November 29 as the team travels to Northern Illinois.
Note: SIU’s 89 points marked the most the program has scored in a game since scoring 95 against Indiana State on Jan. 3, 2008.