CARBONDALE — Kat Taylor scored a team-high 14 points, and Mallory Ladd and Samantha Heck notched double-doubles to help power Evansville to a 52-41 win over the SIU women’s basketball team Saturday at SIU Arena.

With an announced 795 fans in the building for its Pink Out promotion, SIU took a 24-21 lead on a 3-pointer from Jordyn Courier a minute and a half into the second half. But the Salukis’ offense went cold from there, allowing Evansville to put together a 13-0 run.

The Purple Aces (8-13, 6-4 Missouri Valley Conference) never trailed again, but SIU got within seven, 48-41, on a Cartaesha Macklin free throw with 1:02 remaining before Evansville closed out the game at the charity stripe.

“I thought the team played incredibly hard (and) fought hard the whole game,” said SIU interim coach Adrianne Harlow. “You can obviously tell that we worked on defense and rebounding. They just laid it all out and it was disappointing for them to lose when they put so much effort into it.”

SIU (4-17, 1-9) dropped its eighth straight game, but held an opponent under 70 points for the first time since Dec. 29 against Chicago State. On the other hand, the Salukis also tied their lowest offensive output of the season.

“It hurts to lose, especially after working so hard,” said SIU guard Rishonda Napier, who had nine points for the Salukis. “Being competitors, we can’t put our heads down. We have to continue to compete and show people that we are not the doormat of this league and let people step all over us.”

Playing without its emotional leader in Khristian Hart (torn ACL) and with Ladd (sprained ankle) and Meagan Collins (knee) nursing injuries of their own, Evansville committed 21 total turnovers and shot 33 percent in the first half.

Ladd finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Heck had a quiet double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

“We focused a lot on defense and it takes maturity to go out there and not work on offense as much in practice and go out there and do it (in the game),” Macklin said.

Macklin led SIU with 15 points and seven steals, while Jordyn Courier added 10 points. The Salukis were down to an eight-person rotation as Alexus Patterson and Jameeka Bouie were sitting out due to violations of team rules.

SIU will have four days of preparation before it hosts offensive powerhouse Illinois State on Valentine’s Day. The Redbirds (14-8, 6-4) beat Drake 81-57 on Friday for their fourth game scoring at least 80 points.

Illinois State also holds the distinction of being the final opponent former coach Missy Tiber faced in her SIU career.

“That’s going to be much more fast-paced,” Harlow said. “For some reason, we don’t match up the greatest with them, but we’ll come in ready to go.”

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Thursday.

On Twitter: @PeteTheSouthern

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