Salukis thriving in second half

By Thomas Donley, @tdonleyDE

The NCAA changed the format of women’s basketball from two halves to four quarters this season. But however the game is divided, the Salukis still find more success after halftime.

SIU has scored more points in the second half than the first in six of its seven games this season, and 18 of its last 21 dating back to Jan. 23.

Coach Cindy Stein said she does not think this is a bad thing.

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“It means you’re getting better as the game goes on,” she said. “You’re taking better shots and seeing the floor well. You want your team clicking better in the second half.”

The Salukis have shot 33.8 percent from the floor in the first half this year, while opponents have shot 38.3 percent. SIU improves to 49.5 percent after halftime, compared to 40.4 percent by its adversaries.

“We don’t normally start off very good, whether it’s not taking a shot or shots not falling,” senior power forward Azia Washington said. “The second half is when we get rolling.”

The Dawgs are also more aggressive offensively in the second half.

SIU averages seven first-half free throw attempts per game, but gets to the line 12 times per game in the second half and overtime. Its free throw percentages are similar from half to half: 63.3 in the first and 61.9 in the second.

“I think we have to figure out a way to find what gets us going from the start of the game rather than wait until the second half,” senior center Dyana Pierre said. “I don’t know what it is, but I think it’s an easy fix for this team.”

Three of the Salukis’ four wins this season have come when the Dawgs were trailing at halftime. Last season, the team won seven games in the same fashion.

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Stein said there is not anything she says at halftime to fire her team up.

“We try to keep it really simple,” she said. “We try to give them two to three things to concentrate on, and that’s about it.”

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

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