Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

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Late rally not enough as Salukis fall to Cornell

Jaidynn+Mason+%2822%29+guards+Clarke+Jackson+%2822%29+of+Cornell+on+defense+Nov.+11%2C+2023+at+Banterra+Center+in+Carbondale%2C+Illinois.+
Lylee Gibbs | @lyleegibbsphoto
Jaidynn Mason (22) guards Clarke Jackson (22) of Cornell on defense Nov. 11, 2023 at Banterra Center in Carbondale, Illinois.

The SIU women’s basketball team’s hopes of a comeback effectively ended when Cornell’s Emily Pape drilled a stone-cold three-pointer with 70 seconds remaining.

The Salukis, powered for most of the game by Shemera Williams and Jaidynn Mason, had battled back from an eight-point deficit to start the fourth quarter, after trailing by as much as 12 earlier in the game.

Laniah Randle’s layup tied things up at 73, and the Salukis appeared to have all the momentum, after a Williams bucket gave them the lead with just over three minutes to go.

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“What brought us back on that run was our defense,” Saluki head coach Kelly Bond-White said.

Pape and the Big Red had other plans. After a couple of offensive series for both teams came up empty, Pape, who finished with 26 points, hit a three that brought the Banterra Center to silence.

Though Cornell would go on to win, Bond-White was still, “proud of my young ladies’ efforts of fighting back in the fourth quarter.”

The name of the game was turnovers. Southern forced 27, scoring 24 points off turnovers. However, they gave Cornell too many extra chances for this to be an advantage, as the Big Red forced 19 turnovers and scored 19 points on subsequent possessions.

“We just weren’t very disciplined tonight,” Bond-White said. 

Mason continued her hot start to the season, pouring in 18 points in 25 minutes while assuming a big playmaking role in the Saluki offense. Eight of her points came in the opening quarter, which was a team-high for a single quarter on Saturday.

Williams also had a big game; the senior guard was key in the third quarter, when she put up seven points with a block, a steal and an assist. 

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Both teams went to the line at a high rate. But while Cornell made 29 of its 39 foul shots, the Salukis went just 18-for-30 at the line. In a close game, that margin served to be a difference-maker.

“I didn’t like the unnecessary fouling,” Bond-White said. “Yeah, it was physical, but it’s nothing that we’re not going to see in the Missouri Valley.”

The scoring struggles for the Salukis continued beyond the foul line; for the game, they shot only 39.1% from the field and 5-for-24 (20.8%) from three. The offensive bright spot for the game came in the paint, where they put up a whopping 40 points.

“In the end, we put it on the floor,” Bond-White said. “The great shot tonight was in the paint… we had 40 point paints to their 30, and we could’ve had about 60.”

Cornell attacked more from the midrange, shooting 18-for-40 inside the arc. And though they only shot eight treys, they matched the Dawgs’ total in makes with five. 

Defensively, the Salukis were very active, forcing 16 steals. This strong defense gave them more opportunities on offense, tallying up 20 fast break points. 

SIU will take the court again on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. to take on Purdue Fort Wayne at the Banterra Center.

Sports reporter Ryan Grieser can be reached at [email protected]. To stay up to date on all your southern Illinois news, be sure to follow The Daily Egyptian on Facebook and on Twitter @dailyegyptian.

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