Monica Sharma | @mscli_cks
After being up as much as 11 points in the second quarter, a 8-2 run by Valparaiso at the beginning of overtime helped lead them to a 70-63 win over the Southern women’s basketball team.
“I just feel bad for our kids. It was a very hard fought game. I felt like they deserved to win,” head coach Cindy Stein said.
Senior forward Gabby Walker made nine straight points for the Salukis (8-13, 5-11 MVC) at the end of the fourth quarter which gave the Salukis a 57-54 lead with 48 seconds left.
Valpo (11-10, 7-7) answered with a free throw and a layup with 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter to tie it up, and a shot by junior guard Peyton McCallister did not fall forcing overtime.
“We have a special situation play that we’ve worked on. We just did not make the right read,” Stein said.
Valparaiso opened the game with an 8-0 lead with two three-pointers from Valpo leading the way until senior forward Rachel Pudlowski got a layup to get a score for the Salukis.
Walker then pulled SIU within three, when she went to the free throw line and made one of two and then on Southern’s next possession got a layup at the 4:54 mark of the first period.
A three-pointer by senior guard Makenzie Silvey tied the score late in the first quarter, then Pudlowski went to the free throw line and made both attempts to give Southern their first lead at 12-10.
Three straight steals by freshman guard Quierra Love turned into eight points for SIU with two three-pointers from McCallister.
After the Salukis pushed out a 11 point lead early in the second quarter, Valpo went on a 6-0 run to pull within five at 23-18.
Southern answered the 6-0 run by Valparaiso with a 5-0 run of their own, including a three-pointer by Love to lead 26-18.
The Brown and Gold then went on a 9-0 run with a three-pointer by senior guard Grace White bringing them within one of SIU at the 1:29 mark of the second quarter.
A three-pointer by McCallister ended the scoring in the half as the Salukis went into the locker room up 31-27.
SIU handled the ball well in the first half with only three turnovers, while the defense forced eight turnovers on Valpo which turned into 13 points.
Silvey accounted for the first six points getting her third jumper of the quarter off an assist from junior guard Caitlin Link to give the Salukis a 37-33 lead three minutes into the third quarter.
Both teams were scoreless for over two minutes leading up to the 3:16 mark of the third quarter, while Walker and Silvey had eight points in the third quarter giving SIU a one point lead.
SIU then went on a 7-2, with two free throws by Pudlowski capped the run to lead 46-38 with just over one minute remaining in the third quarter.
The score remained the same until the 8:13 mark of the fourth quarter when Walker was fouled on her layup attempt and she made one of two free throws as the Salukis led by nine.
A 8-2 run then by the Brown and Gold tied the game at 49 each with 3:51 left in the fourth quarter.
Four straight made free throws by Walker pushed the SIU lead back out to four, but Valparaiso answered with a layup as SIU led 53-51 with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Nine straight points by Walker had the Salukis up three with 48 seconds left, but a free throw and a layup by Valpo tied the game with 11 seconds left.
Southern was unable to score in the last 11 seconds of the quarter, as the Valparaiso defense held, forcing overtime.
Walker fouled out 22 seconds into overtime and a 6-0 run by the Brown and Gold gave them a 63-57 lead with 3:33 left in overtime.
“There was definitely some execution we could have done better, especially at the end of regulation,” Stein said. “Overtime kind of got away from us, some things didn’t go our way, we’ve got to be able to handle that better.”
The loss places the Salukis in the eighth seed for the Hoops in the Heartland Missouri Valley Conference tournament in Moline, Il. March 11 through the 14.
“Next two weeks is training camp for that tournament,” Stein said. “We’ve got kids like Janell Douvier and Awa [Keita] that literally have had two days of a practice,”
Up next for SIU they play the University of Northern Iowa on Friday Mar. 5 with tip off set for 4pm in the Banterra Center.
Sports Reporter Adam Warfel can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @warfel_adam.
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