Saluki women drop heartbreaker to Loyola

Saluki women drop heartbreaker to Loyola

By Ted Ward, @TedWard_DE

The SIU women’s basketball team went into overtime against Loyola and fell 69-68 on Sunday.

The Salukis (10-6) looked to improve to 4-0 in the Missouri Valley Conference and remain in first place, but came out sluggish in the first half.

“We didn’t play our best basketball and it cost us,” coach Cindy Stein said. “As a team, we didn’t do the little things that we needed to do in order to come away with a win.”

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MORE HOOPS: Photos from the game | Men’s recap

The Dawgs turned the ball over five times in the first quarter and trailed 18-13 as Loyola put defensive pressure on early.

Stein said she was dissatisfied with how the team played and shot the ball.

“Our shot selection was really atrocious,” she said. “We didn’t take smart shots, and that’s something we need to improve on.”

Even with the loss, senior guard Cartaesha Macklin scored 22 points. She became the highest scoring player in SIU women’s hoops history, tying Hall of Famer Amy Rackers with 1,538 career points.

“An individual accomplishment is meaningless when you don’t accomplish the team goal,” she said. “This loss is difficult, but I believe it wakes us up and we’ll get better going forward.”

The Ramblers (7-7 3-0 MVC) hit their only 3-point basket early in the second quarter, extending the lead to 10. 

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SIU took back the lead 32-31 going into the break with two 3-pointers of their own from Macklin and sophomore guard/forward Kylie Giebelhausen.

The game remained close coming out of halftime. Loyola took the lead after four changes to close out the third quarter.

After a close fourth quarter — with SIU trailing 58-57 with 33 seconds remaining — senior center Dyana Pierre, who recorded her fourth straight double-double (16 points and 17 rebounds), tied the game with a free throw. The game went into overtime after Loyola missed a shot with 2.3 seconds left.

It remained a close game again in overtime, with neither team holding more than a four-point advantage.

“It played out like it was a game Loyola wanted to win and a game we couldn’t afford to lose,” Stein said. “They had more of a will to win than us and certainly won’t be a team that finishes eighth despite being picked to finish there.”

As Loyola trailed 68-66 with 21 seconds left, junior guard Taylor Johnson drove to the lane and was fouled as her shot went in. Johnson, who finished with 29 points, converted the and-one opportunity to put the Ramblers up 69-68.

SIU had a chance to win with 10.5 seconds to go, but a turnover by Macklin ended the game.

“We didn’t appear ready for the play,” Pierre said. “Everyone has to be ready to get the ball and shoot and we weren’t and it cost us.”

The Salukis will be back in action against Evansville at 2 p.m. on Jan. 16 at SIU Arena.

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

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