The Salukis tipped off against the Evansville Purple Aces Sunday in Indiana hungry for their second consecutive win over a conference opponent.
However, the women’s basketball team couldn’t deliver in its 71-65 fall to the Purple Aces.
Since an early December victory over SIUE, the Salukis (4-10, 1-2 MVC) have won three of their last four games, including a win over Drake, hitting a school-record 15 shots from beyond the arc in a single game.
Evansville (4-10, 2-1 MVC) got off to a fast start thanks to senior guard/forward Taylor Ware, whose 10 points led all scorers in the first half. The early points helped give the Aces a 21-point lead to seemingly put the game out of reach.
However, foul trouble and a determined Saluki defense kept Ware scoreless throughout the rest of the game.
SIU took advantage and went on a rally of their own and took the lead early in the second half.
“We went to more of a guard lineup,” coach Missy Tiber said. “We made two threes right away and kind of got some energy back. We were just moving the ball really well and making some shots.”
The SIU guard-oriented offense kept the game close through the second half, but Evansville benefited from the size advantage by scoring 16 second-chance buckets.
The size difference proved to be too much as Evansville went on an 8-2 run with under two minutes left in the game to take the win, 71-65. SIU struggled to defend in the post as Evansville scored 36 of their 71 points in the paint and beat the Salukis in rebounds, 41-26.
“We shot the ball enough to win the game, we just didn’t guard when we needed to and get key rebounds,” Tiber said. “I told the team you can’t expect to go on the road and win a game when you get out-rebounded by 15.”
The loss ties the all-time series with Evansville at 23 wins each.
The Salukis will look to change their luck Thursday in Terre Haute, Ind., against Indiana State.