Saluki Women’s Hoops earn sixth win in a row against Indiana State

By Joey Bernard and Brandyn Wilcoxen, Staff Reporter

The Saluki women’s basketball team earned their sixth win in a row against Indiana State Thursday night. SIU won the game with a 63-46 final score as they didn’t allow a single Indiana State player to earn double-digits in scoring on the night.

Graduate Student Abby Brockmeyer said the team is ecstatic as ever after their sixth win in a row.

“We’re super excited. We just got our wheels a-turning, and there’s no slowing down now. We’ve got all the confidence in the world. We’re making the right plays, we’re playing good defense, we’re just executing our plays well,” Brockmeyer said.

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Highlighting the performance on the night for the Salukis were graduate student Makenzie Silvey as well as Brockmeyer. Silvey led the team in points with 21 on the night. She also tallied six rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block. Surprisingly, Brockmeyer did not earn a double-double off the performance, with just one rebound off earning yet another one for the year. Brockmeyer still tallied nine rebounds with her 17 points, six steals, two assists, and one block.

Brockmeyer said their communication was key to the big defensive effort throughout the game.

“I think to begin, we were getting nailed with screens, so just our communication, as well as the posts helping out the guards that are getting nailed on screens and the guards working to get around them,” Brockmeyer said.

Silvey said the team is excited about earning their sixth win in a row, but said they’re looking forward at the moment.

“It feels good. I couldn’t have told you we’ve won six in a row, I just know we won our last game. But we’re really just trying to focus on Evansville now, and get ready to just finish this weekend strong,” Silvey said.

A jumper by the Sycamores started the scoring off and it went back and forth throughout the rest of the first. Later, a layup by graduate student Gabby Walker earned SIU their first lead and some free throws quickly after added to that for a 6-3 lead. But a 6-2 run put the Sycamores up once again at 12-8 after some missed threes by the Salukis. However, Payton Mccalister would right the ship and earn the first three of the night for the Salukis to go up 13-12 into the second frame.

Despite missing some threes early on, Silvey said it ended up being a positive later on in the game.

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“We know that every team’s probably gonna double on our post at some point, or chop them, or do something to try to disrupt them. That three-point shooting really opened it up for everybody. They can’t help off when we’re hitting threes, so that really gets the whole offense flying, and we were able to do that in the first half,” Silvey said.

The second was the start of better things for SIU as they earned the first six points of the frame. A layup and a jumper for the Sycamores put it within three soon after, but then two threes by Silvey and sophomore guard Quierra Love put them back up by seven. Some Brockmeyer free throws added it for a nine point lead at 27-18. A 6-2 run to finish the half kept it respectable as the lead was cut to five at 29-24 heading into the half.

The second half started with a Sycamore jumper, getting things within three once again, but some free throws and a Brockmeyer jumper put it at a seven point lead once again early. They kept that lead for three full minutes before another basket was made by either team. A layup by Silvey put it at 39-28 late in the third and some free throws by Brockmeyer and senior guard Caitlin Link finished the third off at a 42-32 Saluki lead.

The fourth was where things really went into the Salukis favor. Some layups by Indiana State got it within nine points early, but it wouldn’t get any closer the rest of the night asthe teams traded baskets most of the rest of the game. At 50-39, SIU would go on a short 6-2 run after some free throws to put them up 15 with just over three minutes left and it was too much for the Sycamores there as SIU would clinch the win off their largest lead of the night at 63-46.

Brockmeyer said the team’s second half performance came down to a couple of things.

“It’s just kinda executing our plays, setting good screens. They’re a good defensive team. They’re constantly following our guards around, our posts, they’re all over us. Really setting good screens and getting our players open and just taking care of the ball and not making bad passes that create high ball turnovers,” Brockmeyer said.

With the win, SIU now controls their own destiny for their seeding in the rest of the conference. Their play the rest of the way will determine if they earn that #1 seed or not. Coach Cindy Stein said they’re enjoying the moment right now, but still staying on the mission.

“It’s just kinda executing our plays, setting good screens. They’re a good defensive team. They’re constantly following our guards around, our posts, they’re all over us. Really setting good screens and getting our players open and just taking care of the ball and not making bad passes that create high ball turnovers,” Stein said.

Something Stein has seen to be motivation for the entire season so far has been their eighth place ranking before the season. Stein said they look back on it all the time.

“This is the team we thought we had last year, we just weren’t able to play. We only had four kids make it to every game, and two of them were freshmen last year. This is kinda that season I think that’s like, we learned so much about how bad we wanted to play basketball. It kinda brought our kids’ passion back, because we didn’t get the chance to properly show ourselves,” Stein said.

The next time the Salukis suit up will be the senior night for a lot of the graduate students and seniors, with it being possibly their last home game for SIU. Silvey said she knows the night is going to be as emotional as ever.

“I know I’ll cry because I’m a crier, but that’s for after the game. We know that we have a good chance to go to the postseason this year, so even in Moline, hopefully our season won’t be over, so I haven’t really thought about that. We just want to focus on getting the win and then going from there,” Silvey said.

Stein said they’ll be missing a huge part of the team next year with a lot of the seniors being gone.

“We’ll lose a big chunk of our team, people that are record-breakers, that have made us better in every single way. Hard workers. you can’t say enough about this group of young ladies. I think they’re handing out towels, and I think they’re doing it because everybody’s gonna be crying. It’ll be a tough day, but we will definitely celebrate after the game,” Stein said.

Brockmeyer said they’re looking beyond the senior night and wanting to play a lengthy end to the season.

“I know it’ll be my last game here at the arena, but I still get to play a couple more games, then we go to Moline, and then hopefully move on past there. It’ll be sad, bittersweet, but I’m ready for what’s next. We’re sitting top of the conference now, so we just gotta finish strong. We were a little shaky to start this game. We can’t come into every game like that, can’t let the other teams take advantage of us,” Brockmeyer said.

Senior night for the Salukis will be this Saturday February 26 at 2 p.m against the University of Evansville. They’ll be honoring their seniors after the game with a special ceremony.

Sports reporter Joseph Bernard can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @Jojobernard2001.

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