The SIU women’s basketball team was unable to keep pace with Marshall on the boards as it lost 70-66 Saturday at SIU Arena.
The Salukis (1-7) were out-rebounded by the Thundering Herd (5-4) 44-30. Most of Marshall’s rebounds came on the offensive end, which contributed to the Herd’s 21 second-chance points and 34 overall points in the paint.
“Defensive rebounding just cost us the game,” coach Missy Tiber said. “I really think that if we got that number (of Marshall’s offensive rebounds) down to 13, we probably (would have won) the basketball game.”
Marshall’s rebounding performance was a collective effort, as no player on the team reached double figures in the category.
However, five Marshall players recorded at least six boards, including sophomore forward Chukwuka Ezeigbo and senior guard Veronica Ruiz, who posted eight rebounds and 17 points each.
The story was much different for the Salukis, who posted only one player put forth a significant rebounding effort.
Redshirt freshman forward Dyana Pierre pulled down 16 boards Saturday, which was the fifth game in a row she reached double digits in rebounds.
“We can’t expect Dyana to rebound every single ball,” Tiber said. “We need it to be a team effort.”
Pierre scored 14 points, which gave her a double-double for the fourth conecutive game.
“Tonight, like coach said, the defensive rebounding (was the problem),” Pierre said. “One time, they got like four or five offensive rebounds. I was so furious right there, and I’m sure all my teammates were.”
Continuing her early season progression was freshman guard Rishonda Napier, who played all 40 minutes for a second consecutive game. She led the Salukis with 20 points on 8-13 shooting, including 4-9 from three-point range.
“Individually, I feel like I did a better job of contributing for my team than I have on previous nights, but I failed to help our bigs rebound,” Napier said. “I take that upon myself.”
Tiber said it was the best game Napier has had in a Saluki uniform.
“Her assists do not show it, but I thought she was making great passes,” she said. “It’s something that we’ve been challenging her to do. That’s the kid that we recruited here. I’m proud of her because she had a sense of confidence and swagger about herself, and that’s what I liked so much about her through the recruiting process.”
Sophomore guard Cartaesha Macklin was the third Saluki who scored in double figures. She had 15 points along with two assists and two rebounds.
Although the Herd led the game from 14:07 left in the second half to the final buzzer, the Salukis were always within reach of tying or taking the lead.
“I liked our effort,” Tiber said. “We fight. We don’t ever quit. We play hard and I think we’re right there, but we need a better effort from every single person rebounding the basketball.”
The SIU women’s basketball team will return to action at 2 p.m. Sunday at Missouri.