Salukis defeat Braves after slow start

By Brent Meske, @brentmeskeDE

SIU women’s basketball (11-9, 4-5) overcame a sluggish start en route to a 76-59 win over the Bradley Braves (3-17, 2-7) on Sunday at SIU Arena.

Bradley jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead before the Salukis found the basket.

“We got a little sloppy and flat,” coach Cindy Stein said. “Sometimes we get out there and think we can beat these guys, but we get too relaxed.”


Sophomore point guard Rishonda Napier started the game 2-for-3 from beyond the arc to cut the deficit to 1 point.

Junior forwards Dyana Pierre and Azia Washington gave the Salukis the lead five minutes into the game when Washington scored a field goal off an assist from Pierre.

After taking the lead, the Salukis never looked back as they brought a 34-23 lead into halftime.

Washington and Napier had a game-high 18 points. Washington also grabbed 7 rebounds.

Pierre added her 31st career double-double and second of the weekend with 17 points and 16 rebounds. In two games this weekend, Pierre dropped 35 points and grabbed 34 rebounds. She is now tied for No. 8 All-Time Missouri Valley Conference in rebounds.

Napier was in her second game back from injury after shooting 1-of-9 Friday.

Stein said Napier was a little off after Friday night’s win, and may still be recovering, but was better Sunday.

“She was a little rusty in the second half, where last game it was in the first half,” Stein said. “She didn’t always make great decisions and that’s kind of getting back into the fire.”

The Braves were led by senior guard Michelle Young who finished the game with 16 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist.

SIU plays on the Drake Bulldogs (14-6, 9-0) at 6:05 p.m. Friday at SIU Arena.

Brent Meske can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 269