Salukis secure first MVC win, 59-41 over Evansville

By Janae Mosby, Staff Reporter

The Southern Illinois women’s basketball program (4-2, 1-0 MVC) won its first game of the double-header against Evansville (4-2, 0-1 MVC) on Jan. 1, 59-41. 

The score was close at the end of the half, but SIU pulled away at the start of the third quarter securing the victory. 

Junior guard Payton McCallister led scoring for the Salukis with a career-high of 16 points and junior guard A’Niah Griffin led scoring for the Aces with 10 points.

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“It’s good to start with a win in conference play, it’s the one time you can say you are undefeated in conference play. We know we have a tough fight again tomorrow, but I’m proud of our kids,” SIU head coach Cindy Stein said.

The Salukis started the game with a basket from McCallister and a layup from freshman guard Adrianna Katcher.

“Two people stand out for me today. Payton McCallister being one, especially defensively, her steals really helped get us some easy layups, and Adrianna Katcher with her great defense,” Stein said.

Evansville ended Southern’s scoring run with layups from sophomore guard Abby Feit and Griffin tying the score 4-4.

The score tied again with a layup from SIU’s McCallister and a basket from the Aces’ Griffin. 

Both teams did not make any shots for the remainder of the first quarter which ended with the score 6-6.

The Salukis broke the scoring drought in the second quarter with a 3-pointer from McCallister. This was followed by a layup from Evansville senior forward Jada Poland.

Southern lengthened its lead with a 3-pointer from freshman guard Quierra Love assisted by Katcher and a 3-pointer from junior guard Caitlin Link.

A layup and a free throw from Griffin decreased the Saluki lead 15-13.

The Aces tied the score, 17-17, with a layup and two free throws from senior guard Lola Reed.

Scoring went back and forth between the two teams at the end of the half, but the Salukis managed to regain the lead 22-20.

McCallister led scoring for Southern at the half with seven points and Griffin led for the Aces with seven points.

Evansville began the third quarter with a layup from Feit assisted by sophomore forward Jossie Hudson tying the score. The Aces gained the lead for the first time in the game with a 3-pointer from Griffin making the score 25-24.

Southern took back the lead with two layups and two free throws from senior forward Rachel Pudlowski.

“[Rachel] embraces any kind of role you give her and she’s smart enough to know what needs to be done. Rachel came in and really gave us a huge lift,” Stein said.

A defensive rebound from Pudlowski led to a 3-pointer from Love that lengthened the Saluki lead 33-25.

SIU maintained its lead, 38-29, at the end of the third quarter despite scoring from Evansville’s Hudson and junior forward NaTaya Partee.

A layup from Partee started the fourth quarter for the Aces, which was followed by a layup and free throw from Pudlowski.

Southern went on a seven-point run early in the fourth quarter with scoring from McCallister and Katcher making the score 48-32.

A foul from the Aces junior guard Anna Newman sent McCallister to the free throw line where she made both increasing the Salukis lead.

Scoring from sophomore guard Sydney Thurwalker, Reed and Partee at the end of the fourth quarter helped decrease Southern’s lead but it was not enough to secure the win, giving the Salukis the victory 59-41. 

Southern takes the court again on Jan. 2 against Evansville at Banterra Center at 3 p.m..

 

Staff reporter Janae Mosby can be reached at jmosby@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter at @mosbyj.

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