Coach Bond-White earns first win, as SIU knocks off Lehigh in Christmas City Classic


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.

After dropping their first four, the SIU women’s basketball team (1-4) finally earned their first win of the season Saturday afternoon at the Christmas City Classic in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The Dawgs helped rookie head coach, Kelly Bond-White earn her first official win as head coach for the Salukis with a 87-81 final over Lehigh (2-4).

Five Salukis reached the double-digit mark in points scored as the Dawgs reached the highest point total in the last two seasons. Graduate Student Ashley Jones, sophomore Laniah Randle, freshman Jaidynn Mason, and juniors Promise Taylor and Tamara Nard all reached the 11 point mark or higher. Jones led the way with 16, Randle and Mason trailed with 13 each, and Taylor and Nard tallied 11 each.

Laniah Randle led in rebounds as well with 10 to mark the first double-double on the season for the Salukis. Mason led in steals with six, Taylor had two blocks, and Jones led with eight.


The Mountain Hawks earned the first bucket of the night and held that lead up until Aja Holmes took a fast break up for a three point shot to take the lead 13-10. The Mountain Hawks would regain the lead for a while, but a couple layups by Taylor led to another Dawgs lead. The Mountain Hawks would tie it back up at 19 all before the second quarter started.

The back and forth affair continued into the second quarter. The Salukis earned a five point lead after a Tamara Nard layup made it 28-23. But later, a three pointer by Lehigh tied things up at 32. Still tied up at 38, a Mountain Hawk layup gave them the lead with just 30 seconds left. The Dawgs with one more chance before halftime used it wisely with a huge three pointer by Tyranny Brown with just five seconds left to take the 41-40 lead heading into halftime.

The Dawgs broke away coming back from half, taking an eight point lead after a 7 point run. The Salukis offense kept things rolling, keeping their lead going into the fourth at 63-57.

The fourth would see the Salukis earn their biggest lead of the night of 11 after a couple free throw attempts by Randle made it 73-62. A late comeback attempt by the Mountain Hawks go things within five after a couple free throws and a three pointer, but it was too little too late as the Dawgs offense kept things going enough to seal the deal for their first win of the season.

SIU will look to make it two in a row tomorrow when they play the Kent State Golden Flames (3-2) for a chance at the Christmas City Classic Title. That game will start with a 1:30 pm tip off tomorrow.

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

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