Napier, guards shoot down Wichita State

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By Thomas Donley, @TDonleyDE

SIU coach Cindy Stein reminded her guards at practice all week that they shot poorly last time against the rugged defense of Wichita State. The players reversed that trend when the Shockers came to SIU Arena on Sunday.

The trio of sophomore Kylie Giebelhausen, redshirt junior Rishonda Napier and redshirt senior Cartaesha Macklin were 22-38 from the floor and scored 62 points in an 80-66 win. The guards shot 5-40 Jan. 22 at Wichita State.

Napier found her rhythm after halftime, as she scored 24 of her career-high-tying 30 points in the second half.

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“I’d love to take all the credit for it, but it was my teammates finding me and my bigs setting good screens for me,” she said. “I had a whole lot of time to set my feet, see the rim and get my elbow tucked in because they got me open.”

SIU (17-9, 10-4 Missouri Valley Conference) made eight of nine from beyond the arc as the Salukis exploded for 53 points after halftime.

Wichita State (7-19, 4-11) made 28 of its 46 shots, but SIU forced 19 turnovers thanks in part to full-court and half-court pressure.

“We just knew we had to be aggressive,” Macklin said. “And not let the aggression get to us — just going out, pressuring the ball, getting in passing lanes and just playing our type of defense we are capable of playing.”

Wichita State sophomore forward Rangie Bessard led her team with 23 points. Junior guard Taquandra Mike added 19.

Stein said the Shockers would be a formidable foe for the Salukis in the MVC Tournament.

“I told [Wichita State coach Jody] Adams that I definitely don’t want to play them again,” she said. “It seems like we bring out their best offensive games of the year”

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After limiting Wichita State to six points in the second quarter, SIU led for the final 23:59 despite receiving only four points from its post players in the first three quarters. 

Senior center Dyana Pierre scored five of her nine points in the fourth quarter and finished with a game-high eight rebounds.

The Salukis next game is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Illinois State.

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3307

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