The SIU women’s basketball team raises their hands in a pump up before the game against Illinois State on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, in the Banterra Center at SIU. The Salukis went on to win 43-41 to the Redbirds. (Monica Sharma | @mscli_cks )
The SIU women’s basketball team raises their hands in a pump up before the game against Illinois State on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, in the Banterra Center at SIU. The Salukis went on to win 43-41 to the Redbirds.

Monica Sharma | @mscli_cks

SIU women’s basketball snaps skid with two-point victory over Illinois State

February 6, 2021

Southern Illinois women’s basketball broke their six-game losing streak by defeating the Illinois State Redbirds in the second game of the series, 43-41, after losing to them on Friday. 

After trailing by 15 points in the first quarter of the game, the Salukis (6-8, 3-6 MVC) fought back and played a competitive game against Illinois State (10-4, 7-4 MVC). The two teams fought hard in the last quarter of the game with the lead changing several times.

“I am just so pleased with our gritteness and our defense. Illinois State came out and jumped on us and we had a group out there that wasn’t going to be denied,” head coach Cindy Stein said.


Junior forward Lexy Koudelka led scoring for the Redbirds with 13 points and senior guard Makenzie Silvey led the Saluksi in scoring (13), assists (7) and steals (3).

“I think it was a big game for us, we’ve obviously been on a losing streak and we’ve been right there in every game […]. We knew we had to come out here and grit it out and get this one,” Silvey said.

Koudelka also led Illinois State in rebounds with eight and Gabby Walker led for SIU with six. 

Illinois State started the game off early with a eight-point run with scoring from senior guard Juliunn Redmond and Koudelka.

The Salukis ended the run with a layup from Silvey and a basket from senior forward Rachel Pudlowski making the score 8-4. 

The Redbirds extended their lead from 17-6 in the first quarter to a 21-6 lead in the second quarter, which included a layup and three-point play from Koudelka and free throws from freshman forward Kate Bullman and redshirt freshman guard Maya Wong.

SIU scored for the first time in the second quarter with a layup from freshman guard Adrianna Katcher.


A five-point run from the Salukis decreased the gap to 10 points, chipping away at the Redbirds’ lead to end halftime with a 27-17 deficit. 

“It helped a lot going into halftime, it gave us a lot of momentum and we knew we were right there. 10 point is only four shots, so we knew that we were going to cover it one possession at a time,” SIlvey said. 

Koudelka led scoring for the Redbirds with 11 points at the half and Silvey led scoring for the Salukis with six points.

The Salukis started the third quarter with a basket from junior guard Payton McCallister.

The Salukis chipped away at Illinois State’s lead with two baskets and a 3-pointer from Silvey, making the score 27-26.

Southern took the lead for the first time in the game after a layup from Katcher, making the score 30-29.

“[Katcher] had a really critical shot, Gabby Walker had a critical shot and yesterday we missed those shots, so we were so much more controlled on those shots. It was very important for us to stay under control,” Stein said. 

The Salukis increased their lead, 35-29, with a 3-pointer from McCallister and a layup from Katcher.

The Redbirds fought to decrease Southern’s lead with a layup from freshman forward Jasmine McGinnis-Taylor, but the Salukis led 35-31 at the end of the third quarter.

Koudelka brought SIUs lead down to two points after two free throws.

Illinois State tied the score, 35-35, with a basket from Redmond.

Southern regained the lead, 37-35, with a layup from redshirt senior forward Gabby Walker.

Scoring went back-and-forth between the two teams, but SIU gained a three-point lead, 42-39, near the end of the fourth quarter.

A layup from ISUs junior guard Terrion Moore brought the Salukis lead down to one point with seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Love secured the win, 43-41, for SIU with a free throw make in the last seven seconds of the fourth quarter after back-and-forth battles between the two teams.

Southern will take the court against Drake on Feb. 11 at 5 p.m. at the Knapp Center.

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

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