Nov. 28, 2004
By Jeff Honza
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Tennessee Tech (3-1) shot 57.1 percent from the field and Emily Christian scored 23 points, as the Golden Eaglettes downed Southern Illinois (0-4), 73-55, earlier today in the Salukis' home opener at SIU Arena.
The loss marked SIU's seventh in its last eight meetings against TTU.
Christian set the tone early on for TTU by scoring 11 of her team's first 14 points in a little over five and a half minutes.
After giving her team a 14-5 lead on a jumper at the 14:26 mark, Christian suddenly went quiet and scored only four points the rest of the half.
Once SIU's defense put the clamps on Christian, it was the Dawgs' top three-point threat, Danette Jones, who took matters into her own hands.
Jones caught fire for three, 3-pointers in a span of 5:49 to give the Salukis a 20-18 edge with 7:11 left.
Jones seemingly couldn't miss from downtown, as she made a near-perfect 4-of-5 treys en route to 16 first half points.
Despite Jones' shooting clinic, TTU kept its poise and responded with a 11-0 run in the last 3:14 of the half.
Shortly after Jones knocked down a jumper to give SIU a 26-25 advantage, the Saluki offense committed four turnovers, and as a result, the Golden Eaglettes took a 36-26 lead at the break.
SIU, who has been held to under 30 points in every first half of basketball this season, had 15 turnovers which would later hurt in the end.
" I think the turnovers really hindered us in the first half," said Saluki head coach Dana Eikenberg. "Even off of a simple press break, we'd throw the ball out of bounds without any pressure. TTU was in a zone the whole first half and we were still turning the ball over."
As for TTU, it made 54.5 percent (12-of-22) of its field goals thanks largely in part to Christian who accounted for half of her team's makes.
After a scoreless first half and limited to nine minutes because of picking up three fouls, Daphney Desamours gave the Salukis signs of life at times during the second half.
Desamours scored five points in 1:18 to bring the Salukis to within five (42-37) with 12:56 left in the game. Also, she turned the ball over just one time in 17 minutes.
SIU, however, would not come any closer to TTU, as the Golden Eaglettes' strung together a 16-6 run in 5:30 to up their lead to 63-46.
TTU led by as many as 18 points on three occasions in the last 5:15 of the game to finish off the 73-55 win.
Christian was 8-of-16 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free throw line to pace all TTU scorers. Kendall Cavin also scored double figures with 11 points.
Jones was a blazing 9-of-18 from the floor, including 6-of-9 from behind the arc. Her six treys fell one shy of tying the school's single game record.
Desamours recovered to score 12 points on 5-of-12 field goals, including one three-pointer. She has scored double figures in every game this season.
SIU outrebounded TTU, 17-4, on the offensive glass, which added to final 31-24 advantage. The Salukis have outrebounded their opponent in two of four games this season.
As for turnovers, SIU ended up with 20, but turned the ball over just five times in the second half. TTU had 13 turnovers.
"Our three goals today were energy, effort and focus, and that's not really how you win basketball games," commented Eikenberg. "We are having a hard time finding a consistent group of eight people who can give those three things on a day-to-day basis. We are in a standstill right now and we have so many fundamental issues to work on."
SIU continues its three-game homestand on Wednesday, Dec. 1 when it hosts SE Missouri State at 7:05 p.m.