DES MOINES — Five Salukis scored in double figures, but it wasn't enough as Drake (15-7, 10-0 MVC) shot 77.7% from the field in the second half to rally past the Southern Illinois women's basketball team (12-9, 7-3), 84-73, Friday night inside the Knapp Center.
Sophomore forward Nicole Martin led the way for the Salukis with a career-high 24 points on 11-of-15 shooting. Senior guard Kylie Giebelhausen added 16 points, six rebounds, three assists and three blocks, while Makenzie Silvey had 11 points and three assists. Kristen Nelson and Abby Brockmeyer each chipped in 10 points.
SIU led by as many as 14, 46-32, with 7:20 to play in the third but the Bulldogs, who trailed at the half for the first time in Valley play this season, shot 77.7% (21-of-27) from the field in the second half to claw their way back. Drake was especially efficient in the fourth quarter, as they scored as many points in the frame (30) as they did in the entire first half.
"I told them to hold their heads up," fifth-year head coach Cindy Stein said about what she told her team after the game. "I don't care so much about losing this game to (Drake), as long as we don't lose to them in the MVC Tournament. I thought we did some really good things for three quarters. The biggest thing that we have to do is learn from this game."
The Salukis shot 50.9% (29-of-57) from the field and assisted on 15 of 29 baskets while only turning the ball over 12 times. All five of SIU's starters scored in double figures, as they accounted for 97.2% (71-of-73) of SIU's scoring.
SIU opened the contest on a 14 on a 14-3 run, making their first three three-pointers. The Bulldogs countered by outscoring the Salukis, 15-7 over the final seven minutes of the quarter to get to within three, 21-18 at the end of the first.
SIU kept its hot start going in the second quarter, as the Salukis opened the second on an 10-2 run to take a 31-20 lead. The Bulldogs again continued to chip away at SIU's double-digit lead, whittling it down to seven, 37-30, before the end of the half.
The Salukis again got out to a fast start in the third, building its largest lead of the game, 46-32, with a 9-2 run to open the third. The Bulldogs continued to chip away though, as they got to within three, 57-54 with an 8-3 spurt to close the quarter.
The Bulldogs completed the comeback on Maddie Dean's three-pointer that tied the game, 61-61 with 8:45 to play in regulation. The Salukis took their final lead, 64-61 on a Kristen Nelson's third three-pointer, but Drake used a 12-0 run to build a lead it never relinquished.
The Salukis will look to get back to their winning ways on Sunday, at Northern Iowa. Tip-off against the Panthers is set for 2 p.m.