Sophomore center Alexus Patterson.
Dec. 21, 2012
By Bill Ford
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.— The Southern Illinois women’s basketball team held of a second-half run by SIU Edwardsville in a 68-63 road win Friday night.
Sophomore guard Cartaesha Macklin scored 13 of SIU’s last 15 points to lead a late Saluki charge after the Cougars rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to lead by as much as four in the second half.
“We got a little bit rattled late in the second, but what I was most impressed with was our discipline on offense and taking good shots late in the game,” said SIU head coach Missy Tiber. “I think we got the ball in the right hands when we needed to.”
The Salukis (2-8) started the game with their best opening half of the year despite having four players in foul trouble. SIU took a 34-25 lead into the break thanks largely to its 3-point shooting. Southern made five first-half treys to SIUE’s none, although the Cougars (6-6) hit six more free throws.
Defensive rebounding and foul troubles plagued Southern to start the second half, as the Cougars climbed back into the game to lead at 49-45 midway through the half. Southern picked up 10 fouls in the first 10 minutes of the second half and surrendered 10 offensive rebounds to SIUE during that span.
“When we went down four, I was really worried about us. The fouls were like 10 to one at that point,” Tiber said. “But when we tied it back up, I felt like we were going to be fine.”
Azia Washington scored six straight points to help the Salukis tie the game back up at 51-51 before Macklin began her late-game tear. Playing with four fouls, last year’s Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year hit three big 3-pointers and converted a 3-point play to put the Salukis back up 65-57 with 2:25 to play.
The Cougars rallied late to cut the margin to 66-63 in the final minute and missed one potential game-tying 3-point attempt before turning the ball over with 9 seconds left. SIUE fouled Rishonda Napier on the inbounds, and the freshman coolly nailed both her free throws to put the game out of reach.
“I put her in to make those free throws and she went to that line like she was a senior,” Tiber said of Napier.
Macklin led the Salukis with 18 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists while Napier added 13 points and Alexus Patterson chipped in 11 points and eight rebounds.
The Salukis wrap up non-conference play December 29 at Chicago State.
“We’re a young team and we’ve been close and haven’t been able to manage it and hang on to win,” Tiber said. “Tonight was a different story and I am just happy for the girls.