CAPE GIRARDEAU — The Southern Illinois women's basketball team won a nail-biter on Wednesday at Southeast Missouri State University. The Salukis (3-1) held on for a 79-74 overtime victory over the Redhawks at the Show Me Center.
SIU (3-1) went into the half with a nine-point lead after Brittney Patrick's coast-to-coast layup at the buzzer gave Southern a 34-25 lead. But SEMO's Kaley Leyhue and Adrianna Murphy wouldn't go away, as the two combined for 30 second half points to eventually force overtime.
SIU, thanks to lockdown defense in overtime, held SEMO (2-3) without a basket during the final three minutes to seal the win.
"I felt like we challenged shots better and locked down," Saluki coach Cindy Stein said. "A lot of SEMO's shots were on our miscues -- either we had someone not do an assignment correctly or miscommunication. Those are the things we have to do better. But at least if you're going to play bad, win when you play bad."
Reigning Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week Abby Brockmeyer led the Salukis with 15 points and added seven rebounds. Nicole Martin finished with 14 points and six boards while Makenzie Silvey added 12 points. The Salukis got contributions throughout their lineup, as all 11 Salukis that dressed played and 10 of 11 scored at least four points.
"Regardless of the minute total, every single kid was needed today in every single scenario," Stein said. "We were fighting our hearts out because things were not very smooth."
SIU opened the contest by making just one of its first 10 attempts from the floor and the two sides were tied, 10-10 at the end of the first quarter. Southern shot 3-for-5 from three-point range in the second quarter, which included Ashley Hummel's first career three, to build a nine-point advantage at the half.
SEMO, behind Murphy and Leyhue, were determined to close the gap. Leyhue was 3-for-3 from long distance in the third quarter and Murphy added five points and two assists to help the Redhawks tie the contest, 48-48 at the end of the third.
The Salukis went up six (65-59) with 3:30 to go on a three-ball by Kristen Nelson, but an 8-2 Redhawks run, highlighted by Leyhue's fifth, and final, three-pointer tied the game, 67-67 with 32 seconds remaining. Neither team could convert on their final possessions, as SIU turned the ball over when Martin got tangled up underneath while Murphy's layup as time expired drew front iron for SEMO.
The Redhawks took a 74-70 lead on a Leyhue layup with 3:15 to go in overtime. Southern turned up the defensive pressure, as they closed the contest on a 9-0 run highlighted by a clutch three by Silvey and an up-and-under layup by Martin that gave SIU the lead back for good.
SIU held an advantage in practically every statistical category, as they outshot SEMO, 49% to 45%, out-rebounded the Redhawks, 38-to-34, and were slightly better (40% to 38%) from long distance.
The Salukis return to SIU Arena to host sister school SIU-Edwardsville on Monday. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.