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Southern Illinois UT-Martin

SIU guard Makenzie Silvey lets one fly at Tennessee-Martin Friday night at the Elam Center. Silvey scored a career-high 29 points, but the Salukis lost 95-94 in their season opener. 

CARBONDALE — The Southern Illinois women's basketball team showed resilience in fighting back from a 20-point third quarter deficit Friday night, but UT Martin squeaked out a 95-94 win over the Salukis inside the Elam Center.

The Salukis (0-1) found themselves down 65-45 with 7:07 to play in the third quarter, but Southern went on a furious 29-7 run over the next nine minutes to take third first lead of the second half, 74-72 with 8:08 to play in regulation.

The Skyhawks responded on their next possession, as UT Martin's Zaire Hicks corralled an offensive board and drained a 3-ball. Southern took its largest lead of the fourth quarter. 84-79 with 3:36 to play on Makenzie Silvey's sixth three-pointer of the game. The Skyhawks answered with an 11-0 run to build a six-point advantage and effectively seal the win.

"I told our team that I thought we played really good defense at times but when you give up 95 points its hard to think that way," sixth-year head coach Cindy Stein said. "But I think both teams were looking to score in the first six seconds of the shot clock. I think this game was a great challenge for us and was a good indication of where we are."

The Salukis were led by sophomores Makenzie Silvey and Abby Brockmeyer. Silvey led all scorers with a career-high 29 points on 11-of-23 shooting to go along with five assists while Brockmeyer notched her sixth career double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Silvey's 29 points were the most scored by a Saluki since Rishonda Napier poured in 33 against Western Illinois on March 17, 2016.

"I thought (Makenzie) did a great job both offensively and defensively," Stein said. "She did everything we wanted her to do."

It was the Salukis who got out to an early lead in the contest, as Southern scored the game's first nine points and led for the entirety of the first stanza. SIU's 30 points, meanwhile, are tied for the most it has scored in an opening 10 minutes of play since the NCAA switched to quarters in 2015.

The Skyhawks countered with an 8-0 run to open the second quarter and UT Martin continued to take advantage of SIU's foul trouble. With both Brockmeyer and Martin on the bench, UT Martin erupted for 33 second quarter points and built an 11-point lead at the break.

UT Martin's lead ballooned to 20 before SIU began to chip away. The Salukis took their first lead of the second half late in the third quarter and held the lead until the final 3:13 when UT Martin scored 11 unanswered points.

The Salukis shot 53.1 percent from the floor in the game and dished out 23 assists on 34 field goals. Brittney Patrick finished with seven assists, while Silvey and Payton McCallister each added five.

Speaking of McCallister, she joined Silvey and Brockmeyer in double figures with 12 points in her Saluki debut. Nicole Martin was the fourth Saluki in double figures, as she finished with 12 points and six rebounds.

The Salukis return to the SIU Arena for their home opener on Wednesday, Nov. 14 when they host the SEMO Redhawks. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m.

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Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

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