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By Gus Bode

The SIU women’s basketball team’s road record in 2009 suggests it is a relief for the Salukis to be done with the away portion of their schedule for this season.

SIU lost 73-64 Friday at Wichita State before losing Sunday at Missouri State by a score of 69-57. The Salukis ended the 2008-09 season with a 1-11 road record, their worst mark since the 2004-05 season when they went 1-13 away from the confines of the SIU Arena.

‘It’s going to be a long bus ride home and, for me, a very disappointing weekend,’ Saluki coach Dana Eikenberg said in a postgame radio interview with 810 AM. ‘One that we’ve got to re-gather, figure out what we can do and send our seniors off right.’


SIU senior guard Erica Smith filled the box score in Friday’s tilt, scoring a career-high 29 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the floor and going 7-for-7 from the free- throw line. She added 11 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal in the losing effort.

Forward Jasmine Gibson, Smith’s senior counterpart in the starting lineup, was the only other Saluki to score in double figures, scoring 15 points but having to take 14 shots to do so, hitting on six.

SIU ended the first half with a 27-24 lead, but the Shockers turned that into their biggest lead of the game at 13 points, after nine minutes, 40 seconds had ticked off the clock in the second half. The difference in the second half was a 12-0 run by Wichita State, during which Shocker guard Marisah Henderson recorded three of her game-high 10 assists.

Henderson, who leads the Valley with 6.7 assists per game, also poured in 16 points.

Two days later, SIU was in Missouri to try to go 2-0 against the Bears a season after Missouri State swept the two-game season series.

Missouri State was able to jump out to a 13-point lead after only 7:15 had passed in the first half. SIU cut the deficit to as little as five before the half ended with the Bears leading 40-30.

The Salukis began the second half with a modest run, scoring the first four points before two minutes had ticked off the clock. However, the Bears built their lead back to 13 points with 9:09 remaining in the second half, and led by as much as 14 before the game ended.


Gibson scored a game-best 19 points, and Smith was right behind her with 14 points and 12 rebounds for her second straight double-double.

‘I wish some of our younger players could bottle a little bit of how hard Erica is playing right now, and I thought Jasmine played well today,’ Eikenberg said.

In the final two road games of the season, the Salukis committed 45 turnovers ‘- 20 on Friday at Wichita State and 25 Sunday at Missouri State.

The Salukis also shot 12-for-23 from the free throw line Sunday.

‘That’s just a real frustrating thing for us as coaches because it’s a responsibility of players to make free throws and to get into the gym, and I can’t demand and over-demand because then we’re being too demanding as coaches,’ Eikenberg said.

SIU (8-18, 4-13 MVC) will play its final game of the season at 2:05 p.m. Saturday against Evansville at SIU Arena. The game will honor Smith, Gibson and guard Kaci Bailey as part of Senior Day, and it will be the last regular season game for the Saluki trio.

‘We got to find a way to pull one together because I’m just very disappointed in this last week,’ Eikenberg said. ‘I’m not sure there’s a real work ethic mentality in this group right now, and I don’t really know how to coach that.’