Freshman guard Rishonda Napier
Dec. 8, 2012
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois women's basketball team allowed Marshall too many second chances in a 70-66 loss to the Thundering Herd Saturday at SIU Arena.
Marshall (5-4) pulled down 20 offensive rebounds and scored 21 second-chance points as the Salukis (1-7) struggled to keep the Herd off the glass. Marshall out-rebounded SIU 44-30 overall despite a game-high 16 rebounds by Saluki center Dyana Pierre.
"Defensive rebounds just cost us the game," said SIU head coach Missy Tiber. "I really think if we cut that number down to about 13, we probably win the basketball game."
The rebounding effort aside, the Salukis played their best game in a losing effort this season. Southern shot a season-best 47.3 percent from the floor and held the Herd to a 39.0 percent clip, including 15.4 percent from 3-point range.
"I was proud of our first-possession defense. We guarded their stuff," Tiber said. "We had to do a good job of limiting their 3-point attempts and holding that percentage down. We did a great job on that task."
Marshall took control midway through the first half after a back-and-forth start to the game. The Herd used an 11-0 run to build their biggest lead of the game at 30-15 at the 6:33 mark.
SIU responded with a 10-0 run of its own to cut the lead to 31-28 before the Herd scored the final four points of the half for a 35-28 halftime advantage. Tiber said defense and rebounding were key during the 10-0 run.
"That's what we made our run on in the first half -- stops and fast break opportunities," Tiber said.
Marshall extended the lead back to double figures right out of the break and hovered around an eight to 10-point lead throughout much of the second half. Southern never got any closer than six points until their final possession of the game.
SIU's inability to mount a second-half comeback was largely due to the Salukis' struggles on the glass. During one series in particular, the Herd missed four shots and collected four offensive boards before drawing a foul on the fifth shot.
The biggest rebound differential came at the guard position. SIU's guards finished with just five rebounds while the bigger Herd backcourt accounted for 16 boards.
"Their size was very difficult to deal with," Tiber said. "We can't expect Dyana to rebound every single ball. We need it to be a team effort."
Southern made a late game push, cutting the margin to six points with 37 seconds to play, but the Salukis couldn't replicate its late-game comeback from Wednesday night's win over SEMO. Marshall hit just enough free throws in the closing minute to pull out the win.
Rishonda Napier led SIU with a career-best 20 points to go along with three assists and two steals.
"That's her best game since she has been in a Saluki uniform," Tiber said of Napier. "I thought she was making great passes. It's something we've been challenging her to do. That is the kid that we recruited here."
Cartaesha Macklin added 15 points and Pierre picked up her third double-double of the season with 14 points and those 16 boards.
"I liked our effort. We fight. We don't ever quit," Tiber said. "I think we are right there, but we need a better effort from every single person rebounding the basketball."
The Salukis close the calendar year with a three-game road swing starting December 16 at Missouri.