Wichita State ended the Salukis’ late push in the second half as the Shockers came out on top 78-68 Saturday at the SIU Arena.
The Salukis (4-14, 1-7 MVC) entered Saturday’s game in hopes of capturing its second-consecutive conference home win, but the team couldn’t pull away during the game’s final stretch. They sent the Shockers (13-5, 7-0 MVC) to the free-throw line, hitting 11 of 12 to extend Wichita State’s lead.
Coach Missy Tiber said she wasn’t satisfied with the loss, but she commended her team’s effort throughout the game.
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t win, but very proud of how hard our kids fight and how hard we played tonight,” Tiber said. “I think we got better tonight.”
The Salukis were never ahead during the game, but fought through several deficits to stay within striking distance to come back. The Shockers, the top team in the Missouri Valley Conference, leaped out to a 12-2 lead in the first three minutes.
By the end of the first half the Salukis drew closer to cut the shortfall to 15-14.
Junior guard Teri Oliver led SIU with 23 points. The team turned the ball over 13 times in the first half, with eight turnovers coming from freshman point guard Cartaesha Macklin. Macklin added 22 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for her first double-double as a Saluki.
Tiber said Macklin was just having a tough time converting on the court during certain spectrums of the game.
“I don’t think it was a lack of focus,” Tiber said. “I think we were ready to play. Cartaesha was just having a rough time. That is a very good defensive team and a freshman 2-guard running the point. We had some guards that didn’t want the ball in their hands and weren’t coming to it.”
Oliver said this loss will keep the team motivated for a victory in the next game.
“This was a tough one for us today,” Oliver said. “We will get better and be prepared for Thursday’s game. We have to take total control (of) the game from the start.”
Sophomore center CiCi Shannon said the team has to continue to work and play harder every game and continue to make each other better.
We have to treat every game like it’s our last,” Shannon said. “We have to continue to fight and play a full 40 minutes.”
The Salukis came out slothfully in the second half and were sparked by the Shockers to start on an 11-4 run. SIU then let Wichita convert its biggest lead of the game to 45-31 only three minutes into the half.
The Salukis fought back and went on an 8-0 run with three points, bringing the score to 51-48.
SIU was within one point after a 5-0 run, but the Salukis couldn’t get a shot to fall and get them out of the jam. The Salukis had their chance to tie or take the lead during the last three minutes, but failed to convert.
Tiber said she thought the shots were there, but the team was unable to nail them down.
“We were getting looks that we wanted; we just didn’t make them,” Tiber said. “I think it’s a matter of, one of those goes in and we are right there.”
Tiber said she looks to see more effort and competiveness in the team’s next matchup.
The Salukis look to make a comeback Thursday when they play to host Murray State at 7:05 p.m. in the SIU Arena.