CARBONDALE — On a night where SIU retired the jersey of Amy Rakers-Fogle, the present wearer of Rakers-Fogle’s No. 34 played a game worthy of the program’s No. 3 all-time leading scorer.
Registering game-high totals of 17 points and nine rebounds, senior Nicole Martin helped the Salukis grind out a 60-42 Missouri Valley Conference win Friday over struggling Indiana State at Banterra Center.
Payton McCallister came off the bench to score a season-high 12 points for SIU (14-10, 6-7), while Makenzie Silvey scored 10 first half points before running into second-half foul trouble. Silvey didn’t play the final 9:26 after drawing her fourth foul.
But she could afford to take a rest, what with Martin dominating inside and others chipping in as the Salukis snapped a three-game losing streak.
“The coaches were stressing that they are a fast-paced team,” Martin said of the Sycamores, “so we played them full-court and I think that slowed them down a little bit. We had a tough little stretch there, but I think this win helps us get our confidence back.”
By no means was this an artistic success. There’s a good chance the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville won’t be asking for the game tape. The teams combined to commit 36 turnovers and make only 34 field goals in 99 attempts.
However, this was a win SIU needed badly. If it is to boost itself into the top six in the Valley and avoid playing on the first day of the four-day conference tournament, it has to close the year with at least four wins in six games.
At 4-22 overall and 2-12 in the conference, Indiana State seemed the perfect foil. Yet coach Cindy Stein was more than a little worried prior to tipoff.
“Indiana State has kept improving and improving, so I knew they would come out here with a flurry and do everything they could to knock us out of rhythm,” she said. “It was hard to get momentum.”
If both teams were cars, they ran like one with a gas leak that’s also got suspension issues. After roaring out to an 8-0 lead in the first 2:35, the Salukis then went scoreless for more than five minutes. But the Sycamores generated very little offense aside from Jamyra McChristine’s 12 first half points.
SIU eased into halftime with a 28-17 lead, but then allowed Indiana State to close within six late in the third quarter. At that point, the Salukis physically enforced a six-minute stretch that quashed any upset hopes of the Trees.
Beginning with Martin’s fast-break layup, SIU rattled off 12 straight points in a 5:55 span. McCallister capped the run with consecutive transition buckets for a 53-35 advantage with 4:51 left. A late 3-pointer finished off perhaps her best game of the year.
“I was able to take some of her responsibilities,” McCallister said of filling in for Silvey.
Point guard Brittney Patrick dished out eight assists to jump over Molly McDowell for eighth in school history with 358, and forward Awa Keita came off the bench to supply five steals and five rebounds in 12:52 of action.
But the story was Martin, who drew a whopping 12 fouls and admitted the presence of Rakers-Fogle offered some inspiration.
“I definitely wanted to play well and let her know the number was in good hands,” Martin said. “I was excited to be out there and have her jersey on.”
SIU officials said before the game that Rakers-Fogle’s number wouldn’t be retired, just her jersey. The school has retired only one women’s basketball jersey, Sue Faber’s No. 44.
The Salukis aim for a weekend sweep of the Indiana schools when last-place Evansville comes to town Sunday at 2:04 p.m.
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