Dec. 21, 2008
By Shalae Patrick
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois (4-4) women's basketball team returned home from a five-game road stretch to pick up its fourth victory of the non-conference season with a 74-67 win over Tennessee Tech (3-7) Sunday afternoon at SIU Arena.
"It was really just a great win," Saluki head coach Dana Eikenberg said. "I'm proud of (Gibson and Smith), I think they led their team well. We're six points away from being 6-2 and getting better every day with our young kids. I thought our game plan was right on the money."
The lead changed hands 10 times in the first half of play, no team leading by more than four points. Tennessee Tech took the 27-26 advantage into the locker room at the break.
The Salukis, who have struggled in the second half early in the season, turned it on after the break putting up their second largest point total (48) in a half this season and committing just two of their 14 turnovers in the last 20 minutes of play.
The Golden Eagles took their final lead of the game 41-40 at the 11 minute mark.
The Salukis took their largest lead of the game with just over nine minutes to play on a 3-pointer by Smith.
TTU would challenge and come within two with just under three minutes to play, but the Salukis didn't buckle putting in 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch.
SIU also took advantage of a TTU team averaging over 23 turnovers a game, turning the Golden Eagles' 20 miscues into 25 points.
"The seniors know how tough it is at this time of year and they've done a good job of keeping the freshman and the junior college players reeled in," Eikenberg said of her leaders. "Our seniors have just done a good job, particularly these last two games of just finding themselves. When (the seniors) play well, they become better players to play with and they make everyone around them better."
The Golden Eagles put four players in double-digits led by Jasmine White with 14.
The Salukis return to action when they wrap of non-conference play hosting Northern Illinois Dec. 28 for a 2:05 p.m. tip-off at SIU Arena.