Adjusting to life without Jazz

By Gus Bode

The loss of junior forward Jasmine Gibson to injury is taking a toll on the SIU women’s basketball team in Missouri Valley Conference play.

Sure, the Salukis (6-8, 2-2 MVC) are only 1-1 without Gibson in the lineup but Saturday’s 77-67 loss at Missouri State (4-11, 2-2 MVC) spoke volumes about what she means to SIU’s offensive attack.

The Salukis took a 9-point lead into halftime but were outscored 43-26 in the second half. The Bears went on an 18-5 run late in the game to deliver the backbreaker.


Coach Dana Eikenberg said she blames the collapse on the lack of discipline and leadership.

“It’s been apparent in our less couple of games that the seniors need to step up and make things happen in the second half,” Eikenberg said. “Jasmine is a big part of this offense and we miss more than her stats. Other teams have to guard Jasmine closely and it’s a bit different now.

“It makes it seem like 4-on-5 at times.”

Gibson, who leads the MVC in scoring with 17.1 points per game, will not practice next week and is listed as out indefinitely.

Due to the loss of its primary post player, SIU was forced to take an increased number of outside shots.

Freshman guard Tanaeya Worden chipped in a career-high 18 points but did so on 7-of-25 shooting from the field and 4-of-14 from behind the arc.

Worden said she never felt as if she needed to force shots.


“Coming in as a freshman this year, they’ve all told me to be ready to play everyday,” Worden said. “We just need to have a good week of practice and work on getting prepared for the next game.”

The Salukis shot 35 percent from the field and 27.6 percent from behind the 3-point line while the Bears shot 47.8 percent from the field.

SIU freshman guard Ellen Young continued to climb up the MVC scoring ranks with a 16-point performance and is currently ninth at 13.4 points per game.

Young said the Salukis didn’t come out ready to play in the second half and shots weren’t falling either.

“It can’t just be one person out there trying to do everything,” Young said. “We all have to step up for Jasmine and pick up the slack.”

“We’re going to have to prepare quite a bit for a couple of really tough games coming up.”

SIU will take on Drake at home Friday and then return Sunday to the SIU Arena for a tilt with Creighton.

Drake and Creighton are second and third in the MVC respectively.

Matt Hartwig can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 282 or at [email protected]