Salukis run away late without star center

Salukis run away late without star center

By Ted Ward, @TedWard_DE

The Salukis proved they can win important games without star center Dyana Pierre, beating Indiana State 76-64 Friday night at SIU Arena.

Led by junior guard Rishonda Napier’s 19 points, SIU (12-8, 5-3 Missouri Valley Conference) shook off a slow start to get the victory. Junior guard Carlie Corrigan scored 12 of the team’s 16 bench points in the win. 

“As a team, we adjusted to Dyana not being out there with us and everyone stepped up,” senior guard Cartaesha Macklin said. “We just executed plays and rebounded and played the type of game we’re capable of playing.” 

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Pierre, a senior, missed the game after suffering a shoulder injury Sunday versus Missouri State. 

Indiana State (8-11, 4-4 MVC) led at the half and started to pull away in the third quarter, leading by as many as nine after a 3-pointer from senior guard Alexis Newbolt. Senior guard Cierra Ceazar, who scored eight of her team-leading 14 points in the third, hit two 3-pointers on the run.

Macklin, who finished with 13 points, responded 59 seconds later with a 3-pointer that proved to be the spark the Salukis needed. A 12-0 run gave the Salukis the lead before the Sycamores tied it with eight seconds remaining in the quarter.

The fourth quarter was all SIU as its strong defense shut down the Sycamores. The Salukis scored seven points off of turnovers and outrebounded the Sycamores 13-8 to close out the game.

The Dawgs needed that fourth quarter to pull out the win.

SIU took a 20-14 lead after the first quarter, but registered just eight points in the second quarter to fall behind 33-28 at the half. The Sycamores controlled the paint in Pierre’s absence, outscoring SIU 18-14.

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“We didn’t play very well in the first half and weren’t playing that hard,” SIU coach Cindy Stein said. “Thankfully there’s two halves of basketball and we responded much better in the second half and got contributions from everyone.”

The Dawgs outscored the Sycamores 48-32 in the second half.

“Coach talked to us during halftime and just told us we weren’t playing hard and we needed to step it up,” Napier said. “As a team, we knew we needed to get back to playing Saluki basketball and battle and that’s what we did.”

SIU is back in action against Illinois State at 2 p.m. on Sunday at SIU Arena.

Ted Ward can be reached [email protected] or 618-534-3303

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