Free throws usually do not appear in the highlight reel, but they can often make the difference between a win and a loss.
The SIU women’s basketball team was on the wrong side of the foul battle against Loyola on Saturday night in Chicago and lost 82-73. The Ramblers attempted 36 free-throws while the Salukis only appeared at the charity stripe 11 times.
SIU (0-2) was led by junior guard Jordyn Courier, who had a productive night on both sides of the ball. Courier eclipsed her career scoring record with 19 points, while adding six rebounds, three assists and one block.
She played 36 of the 40 total game minutes and made five of nine three-point attempts.
“I think if there is one kid that is playing to (her) potential right now, it’s her,” said head coach Missy Tiber. “It’s not just her stat line. It’s all the other little plays that aren’t recorded in a box score (such as) the loose balls and the helping on defense and making plays.”
Sophomore guard Cartaesha Macklin bounced back from a difficult first game of the season by posting 14 points and five rebounds. Sophomore forward Alexus Patterson led the team with 10 rebounds. She also recorded eight points, four steals and three assists.
Freshman forward Jameeka Bouie, who played only five minutes in the season opener against Central Arkansas, made a significant contribution on offense with 12 points in limited playing time.
The Ramblers (2-1) fared even better on the offensive end, with four players scoring in double digits. The stars of the game were sophomore forward Simone Law and freshman guard Taylor Johnson who put up a combined 53 points.
“I really believed coming into this game that our defense would be a lot better,” Tiber said. “We’ve got to be better defensively, moving our feet and not fouling. Two kids had huge games for them, and we didn’t have an answer for them.”
The Salukis hung tough with Loyola for most of the night, but a 10-0 run by the Ramblers in each half offset any rhythm SIU had. After a 14-1 Saluki scoring surge in the first half, Loyola came back and scored 10 in a row to end the first half.
When the Salukis led 62-60 with 7:12 left in the game, the Ramblers countered with a 10-0 run and effectively put the game out of reach.
“It was 62-all and we got three straight stops, and we turned the ball over three straight times,” Tiber said. “I really feel like that was our chance to do something, and we just didn’t make it happen.”
The SIU women’s basketball team will return to the court Friday and Saturday in Coral Gables, Fla. The Salukis will compete in the University of Miami Thanksgiving Tournament against Radford University on Friday. They will play either Miami or Florida Atlantic on Saturday.