CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — The Southern Illinois University women's basketball team had its three-game win streak snapped Saturday, as the SEMO Redhawks held on to defeat the Salukis, 79-65 inside the Show Me Center.
The Salukis led by as many as seven early but struggled offensively late in the contest. The Redhawks outscored the Salukis, 18-to-5, over the final five minutes of the contest and won the battle of the boards, 51-to-29. The win not only snapped SIU's three game win streak but it also ended Southern's five-game winning streak over SEMO (5-2).
"They had great pursuit of the ball," seventh-year head coach Cindy Stein said of SEMO's rebounding advantage. "They played a lot better than we did. That's the biggest thing. We didn't play well today."
SEMO trailed the entire first quarter but came back with a big second quarter to take a 36-34 halftime lead. The Salukis regrouped to take a 51-48 advantage in the third on a layup by Abby Brockmeyer but the Redhawks rallied to build a six-point lead heading into the fourth.
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Southern clamped down defensively to start the fourth, as SEMO missed its first seven shots, but foul trouble reared its ugly head. The Redhawks shot nearly as many free throws in the game's final ten minutes (20) as the Salukis shot all game (21). SEMO finished 30-of-38 from the charity stripe, which included 16-of-20 in the fourth.
"We committed a lot of unfortunate fouls and we weren't in very good defensive positioning," Stein said. "Unfortunately we put them at the line way too much- its hard to survive when you put a team at the line 38 times."
Makenzie Silvey and Abby Brockmeyer both fouled out while Nicole Martin played just 11 minutes due to early foul trouble, which forced Stein to rely on her bench in crunch time. Southern's offense sputtered with the trio on the bench, as the Salukis scored just five points in the final five minutes of the contest.
Gabby Walker had a career night for the Salukis in the loss. The junior forward finished 7-for-11 from the field for a season-best 15 points. It marks the third time this season that the St. Charles, Mo. native has reached double figures.
Walker was joined in double figures by Brockmeyer, Silvey and Kristen Nelson. Brockmeyer tallied 13 points and four boards, Silvey chipped in 10 points and six rebounds while Nelson added 11 points, four assists and two steals.
The Salukis return home on Sunday, Dec. 15 when they host the Murray State Racers. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.