Sophomore Dyana Pierre tied a career-high with 18 points against Marshall on Wednesday.
Nov. 27, 2013
By Tyler Wooten
HUNTINGTON, W. Va. -- The Saluki women's basketball team played a solid first half against the Marshall Thundering Herd, but couldn't maintain that momentum into the second half, falling 82-59 at the Cam Henderson Center on Wednesday.
Southern (0-5) battled back from an eight-point deficit early in the first half to briefly take the lead at the 6:21 mark after two consecutive three-pointers by Ariel Haynes (eight points, four rebounds, three assists, 2-of-2 from three). SIU was able to stay within five of the Herd (2-3) at the half, trailing 40-35, but fatigue, fouls and bench output haunted the Salukis in the second half. Marshall never went on a significant run in the second half, but it was enough to keep the Salukis from working their way back into the game.
After an impressive start to the season on the boards for SIU, Marshall out-rebounded the Salukis 38-23 -- including 22-8 in the second-half alone and 13-5 on offensive rebounds for the game.
"We didn't start out the second half very well," said SIU head coach Cindy Stein. "Rebounding is the name of the game against this team. We felt like we could do a good job defensively on their first shot and we didn't."
"I'm not pleased with the rebounding on an offensive standpoint to us making contact on the defensive end," Stein said. "There were a lot of loose balls there at the end that we've got to get. The last ten minutes we can close the gap and we didn't because they got the loose balls and we didn't."
Both teams had similar marks from the field, but the Herd were accurate from beyond the arc with an 8-of-18 (.444) clip from three -- including a first-half mark of 60 percent and a 3-of-4 performance from MU leading scorer Suporia Dickens for 16 of Marshall's 41 points off the bench. Herd starters Chukwuka Ezeigbo (12 points) and Leah Scott (11 points) also scored in double-figures for Marshall.
Southern was once again led by sophomore center Dyana Pierre, who tied a career high with 18 points (7-of-12 FG, 4-of-4 FT). Pierre, currently the Missouri Valley Conference's leader in rebounds and second leader in field goal percentage, scored ten consecutive points for SIU in the second half from the 17:43 mark until 12:49 remaining in the game. Pierre also tied a career high in free throws made with four, two of which came off being fouled on a made layup.
Fellow sophomore and post member Azia Washington had a hot start to the game with eight points in the first half to lead the Salukis, but the fouls quickly mounted up in the second half, where she only played four minutes and eventually fouled out with 8:44 left to play.
As a team, the Salukis showed improvement in two key areas that had plagued them in previous games: free throws and turnovers. From the line, the Salukis were 9-of-10 after shooting less than 60 percent in three of the previous four games. Both teams turned the ball over nine times, which, for Southern, is the lowest number of turnovers since Feb. 19, 2009 (seven, vs. Illinois State).
Despite these performances, though, the overall production wasn't enough to hang with the Herd, and Coach Stein attributes the consistency problem to confidence.
"Our confidence has to get better, our body language has to get better, we don't have very good leadership out on the floor," Stein said. "It's not that we're not trying, but we've got to have a little swag to us and right now we do not believe in ourselves enough."
"This group wants to win, they're just not really sure how," Stein said. "We'll take small steps. I thought we did some good things in the first half that made us better, and then in the second half we fell apart because of foul troubles and fatigue."
The Salukis will hit the road once again next Monday, Dec. 2, to Conway, Ark., to take on the Central Arkansas Sugar Bears at 5:30 p.m. CST.