CARBONDALE — Points were precious in a contest that resembled a siege more than a game.
So, it was a huge lift for the Saluki women’s basketball team when freshman guard Makenzie Silvey scored SIU’s first seven points in overtime. No bucket was bigger than a 3-pointer with 1:23 remaining that put SIU on top to stay in a 60-53 win over Northern Iowa.
“Can I say I love our freshmen?” SIU coach Cindy Stein asked rhetorically.
All of Silvey’s buckets were huge in the overtime.
The Salukis won the tip and Silvey drove the lane for a quick bucket. After UNI regained the lead, Silvey hit a baseline jumper that gave the Salukis a 53-52 lead with 2:26 to play.
The biggest shot came with just 1:23 left after the Panthers had knotted the game at 53, the Edwardsville native hit nothing but net from beyond the arc.
“Makenzie is fearless,” Stein said. “She really is fearless. She has a savvy to her that, she wants to win. She’s gritty out there. There is not a bigger competitor than Makenzie Silvey. What I love about her, she might miss 10 in a row and she still believes she’s going to make that next one. And, she usually does.
As for Silvey? She shrugged it off. Somebody had to take the shots.
“My teammates were doing a good job of setting me up and getting me open,” she said. “We did a good job of executing plays. That was just open shots. We were looking to take open shots and I was able to knock them down.
“I think confidence grows as the game goes on, but we were just trying to focus on winning. If I wasn’t taking the shots, I was going to try to set my teammates up and give them the chance to knock down the shots.”
The SIU defense forced a miss after Silvey’s trey.
Sophomore guard Brittney Patrick gave the Salukis a five-point edge with just 33 seconds remaining. Her jumper from just inside the arc just beat the shot clock. Free throws by Patrick and Rachel Pudlowski padded the final margin to seven points.
Midway through the fourth quarter, overtime -- much less an overtime victory -- looked like a remote possibility. The lead changed hands 15 times during the game, but UNI opened a 45-40 lead with 5:32 to play.
The Panthers were able to get to the rim often off the dribble.
The Salukis switched to a zone, holding UNI to just one field goal and four total points over the last five minutes.
“They kept isolating us,” Stein said. “We tried some zone. They weren’t hitting from out (1-of-19 from the arc). I thought it helped us gather some momentum. The first half we tried some zone, we didn’t make our match-ups really good. The second half, I thought our kids did a really good job of making sure everybody was covered. I thought it did a good job of stalling them out a little bit.”
“That really seemed to slow them down,” said freshman forward Abby Brockmeyer. “We did a good job of talking, which we don’t always do. When we talk, our defense is phenomenal. We did a good job of talking, covering the shooters and not giving up the open layup. We pretty much executed perfectly.”
Silvey led all scorers with 17 points. Brockmeyer finished with 10 points and was a rebound shy of her fourth double-double this season. Rose Simon-Ressler had 16 and Megan Maahs 15 for Northern Iowa.
The Salukis are 3-0 in MVC play with Drake coming to town Sunday. This is just the third time the Salukis have opened Valley play with three straight wins.