Dyana Pierre led SIU with a career-high 20 points along with 10 boards.
Dec. 16, 2013
By Scott Gierman
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois' best shooting effort of the year lifted the Salukis to a 66-60 win over Eastern Illinois Monday night at SIU Arena. However, it was strong offensive rebounding against EIU (3-6) that allowed the Salukis (2-6) to take control late in the contest and tally their second win in their last three games.
The Salukis knocked down a season-high 47.1 percent of their shots and hauled in eight of their 10 offensive boards in the second half.
"Offensive rebounding has been a huge point of emphasis for us all week," SIU Coach Cindy Stein said. "We only had two at the half, and we talked to them about getting in there and getting some extra points somehow. They did it. They gave an excellent effort to get in there."
With the score tied at 48-48 and just under 6:00 left in the game, Ariel Haynes' offensive rebound led to a putback and a chance for a three-point play. Haynes missed the free throw, but Azia Washington cleaned the glass and banked it in to extend the lead to 52-48. Southern did not trail the rest of the way.
On the very next possession, Dyana Pierre scored following an offensive rebound to give her her fourth double-double of the season and extend the lead to six points. Pierre finished with a career-high 20 points to go with 10 rebounds.
Southern put together a team effort with four players scoring in double figures. Haynes and Sidney Goins each had 12, and Washington added 11. That made up for the lack of second-leading scorer Cartaesha Macklin who missed her first game of her career with a medical condition.
"I think a win like this is more important because we are missing so many key elements that we are used to having but they are out," Stein said. "Knowing that they can win without a Cartaesha Macklin, Rishonda Napier or Alexus Patterson is huge for this team from a confidence standpoint."
EIU's Jordyne Crunk led all scorers and kept the Panthers in the game with a career-high 23 points on nine of 14 shooting from the field. In the second half, she had 17 points, including a pair of three-pointers.
The Salukis started the game hot from outside, hitting four of their first six three-point attempts to take a 12-6 lead into the second media timeout. The Salukis shot a season-high 21 three-pointers and made a season-high seven.
"We have the ability to hit some threes," Stein said. "Sometimes it is a little tougher on some nights. You should shoot (well) at home. I don't think we are going to score 100 points on anyone. Sometimes we have to work hard at (shooting), but it gave us a little boost."
Eastern hit its first two field goals then missed 10 of its next 11 from the field before Crunk's three-pointer cut the SIU lead to 14-9 with 8:44 left in the half.
SIU stretched the lead to 18-10 before EIU went on a 10-2 run to tie the game at 20-20 with 2:23 left in the half. The Salukis quickly took back the lead on Pierre's layup, and following Hannah Shore's made free throw took a 23-22 lead into the half.
Southern Illinois kept EIU leading scorer Sabina Oroszova in check with only 11 points. She entered the game averaging 18.3 points per game after scoring a school-record 38 points in a game earlier this month. However, on Monday, she started the game one-of-eight from the field and had only four points at the half.
"I think Azia Washington did a great job (defending Oroszova)," Stein said. "Azia's athletic, and she has good length. I think she just challenged every shot. She took her first cut away from her. We switched on her when we needed to, but Azia did a good job."
The Salukis will try to keep the momentum going when they host Chicago State on Friday in Carbondale.
"I feel pretty good going into Friday," Pierre said. "We saw how hard we can play, so Friday we are going to do the same thing."