Dec. 18, 2011
By Bill Ford
MARTIN, Tenn. -- The Southern Illinois women's basketball team fell behind early and couldn't recover in a 91-70 loss to UT Martin Sunday afternoon at the Elam Center.
The Skyhawks (6-5) outscored Southern (3-6) 27-6 during the games opening 10 minutes, at one point scoring 20 unanswered. The Saluki offense finally came alive, but the defense was slower to catch on as UTM went into halftime with a 55-29 lead.
"Our defense just let us down today in the first half," said SIU head coach Missy Tiber. "That has been the first time all year that I have been disappointed in the defensive effort. We just gave up wide-open shot after wide-open shot."
The Salukis saw an improved effort in the second half, out-scoring the Skyhawks 41-36 after the break, but the early deficit proved too much to surmount. Every time Southern looked poised to make a run at the UTM lead in the second half, the Skyhawks were able to draw a foul or hit a big shot to quash any Saluki surge.
SIU was whistled for 24 fouls to UTM's 12 as the Skyhawks went to the line 19 more times than the Salukis (34-15). UTM also edged Southern by 10 on the boards (43-33).
"I'm not happy that we got out-rebounded by 10," Tiber said. "You look down their stats and they got one post player with 10 rebounds and one with eight rebounds. They've got guards getting five and six and our guards are getting one and two."
SIU dug deep into its bench throughout the game searching for answers as 12 of Southern's 13 active players saw action. The Salukis used their fourth different starting lineup of the season as eight different players have made their way into the starting five at some point.
"I'm trying to figure out our team. I would love to get to a starting lineup where we can say, `This is it and this is what we are going with,'" Tiber said. "Sometimes games are experiments. We got a new player. We are getting Jordyn some more minutes. We are trying to figure out who is supposed to be playing on this team."
Courier stepped up with a career-high 12 points and was one of three Salukis to score in double figures. Freshman Cartaesha Macklin led Southern with 20 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists while Teri Oliver added 17 points.
Heather Bulter led four UTM players in double figures with 22 points while Jaclissa Haislip chipped in a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
"We made them work for some tougher shots in the second half that we didn't do in the first half," Tiber said. "We've just got to keep working as a coaching staff and as players to get the right mix out there and compete."
The Salukis will be back in action December 22 at No. 23/21 DePaul for their last game before the start of Missouri Valley Conference play.
"We'll get this team ready to go and ready to bounce back," Tiber said. "We need better effort from the players and from the coaching staff."