Short-handed Salukis pull away late to sweep the Aces

By Ryan Scott, Staff Reporter

The Southern Illinois Saluki women’s basketball team (5-2, 2-0 MVC) defeated the Evansville Aces (4-3, 0-2 MVC) 69-51 Saturday at the Banterra Center. 

For the second-straight day the Salukis were without their top two scorers due to COVID-19 protocols. Both senior guard Makenzie Silvey and senior Forward Abby Brockmeyer have averaged 13.8 points a game this season and the team was without them today. 

Despite this, they were able to defeat Evansville behind double-digit performances by junior guard Peyton Mccallister, who scored 17 points, and 11 points from both junior guard Caitlin Link and freshman guard Adrianna Katcher. 

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The top scorers for the Aces were sophomore guard Abby Feit with 15 points and sophomore forward Sydney Thurwalker with 11. 

Link spoke on playing without Silvey and Brockmeyer the last two games. 

“I think it gives us a lot of confidence, a lot of people stepped up and that’s really what we needed. It’s really nice knowing that we’re gonna have them back soon,” Link said. 

Head coach Cindy Stein discussed these two games missing their top two scorers.

“Obviously we don’t want to devalue Makenzie or Abby because they’re terrific players; they are all-conference level players. But the fact that we can win a conference game without them I felt like playing these games without them would make us a better team whether we won or lost,” Stein said. 

Link, who made three three-pointers, spoke on getting her shots going in again recently. 

“I’m just doing it for my team, I know that I’ve gotta knock down this shot when I’m open. So I’ve gotta make sure I’m ready to whenever I get it,” Link said. 

Stein said it’s big for the team when Link is making threes, and said Link has done a better job looking for those shots. 

Katcher opened the scoring for the Salukis but Feit quickly responded with a three point play for  Evansville to put them up 3-2. 

Evansville led 13-12 late in the first quarter but the Salukis finished the quarter out strong adding the last six points with four of those from Mccallister to go up 18-13 after one quarter. 

The Aces cut into the lead in the second quarter cutting the lead down to 21-20 on a Thurwalker free throw with close to six minutes left in the half. The Salukis then went on an eight point run with a three point play from senior forward Rachel Pudlowski followed by a layup from senior forward Gabby Walker. 

A last second shot from Katcher put the Salukis up 11 at 39-28 going into the half. 

Right out of the half the Salukis quickly added on getting two three-pointers from Link in the first few minutes of the third quarter to go up 47-30.

After that the Aces weren’t able to cut into the lead much with the Salukis leading by 14 points or more the rest of the game with a final score of 69-51. 

The Salukis next game will be against Bradley in Peoria on Friday, Jan. 8, at 6 p.m. 

Sports reporter Ryan Scott can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @RyanscottDE. 

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