Daily Egyptian

SIU women’s basketball recovers from messy start to defeat SEMO

Saluki+senior+guard+Rishonda+Napier+%2813%29+reacts+following+a+play+Friday%2C+Dec.+9%2C+2016%2C+during+SIU%27s+77-70+win+against+Southeast+Missouri+at+SIU+Arena.+%28Bill+Lukitsch+%7C+%40lukitsbill%29
Saluki senior guard Rishonda Napier (13) reacts following a play Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, during SIU's 77-70 win against Southeast Missouri at SIU Arena. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

Saluki senior guard Rishonda Napier (13) reacts following a play Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, during SIU's 77-70 win against Southeast Missouri at SIU Arena. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

Saluki senior guard Rishonda Napier (13) reacts following a play Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, during SIU's 77-70 win against Southeast Missouri at SIU Arena. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

By Jonathan Thompson

SIU women’s basketball came alive late in the game Friday to beat Southeast Missouri State, 77-70.

In the opening minutes of the fourth the Dawgs went on a 9-0 run that gave them a 64-55 advantage, after SEMO led by as much as 15 in the second quarter.

Consistent play from the upperclassmen gave SIU the boost it needed to close out the game.

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“I felt like our veteran leadership was really sound,” coach Cindy Stein said. “They’re the ones that came up with the big plays all night.”

Senior guard Rishonda Napier had 10 of her 21 points in the fourth, to possibly break her prolonged shooting slump. Friday was only the second time she shot above 30 percent this year. She also added five assist and two rebounds.

The Salukis struggled to take care of the ball early in the game as 12 of SIU’s 17 turnovers came in the first half.

Sophomore guard Olivia Bowling (3) gets tripped up with Redhawks sophomore guard Adrianna Murphy (3) during the Salukis' 77-70 win Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, against Southeast Missouri at SIU Arena. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

SEMO senior guard Bri Mitchell had two big buckets for the Redhawks that sparked a 7-0 run to start the second half.

Mitchell was a problem for SIU scoring 21 points, grabbing six rebounds and two assists.

The Redhawks were able to grab 22 offensive rebounds to the Salukis’ six, but Southeast Missouri only managed 15 second-chance points to the Salukis’ 10 in spite of having that advantage.

Thanks to some hot shooting by junior guard Kylie Giebelhausen, the Salukis quickly closed that gap and only trailed 38-37 at halftime.

Giebelhausen had 17 first-half points more than half of the Salukis’ total points. She lead all scorers with 26 points, adding eight rebounds and three blocks.

“I obviously didn’t want to take her out,” Stein said. “I think she got one minute of rest. She’s so good in so many positions. She’s probably playing in the position she hates the most and she made the best of it. I said on the radio I can’t wait until she plays in a position she likes because she got it done today.”

Junior guard Kylie Giebelhausen (32) attempts a shot while being guarded by SEMO senior guard/forward Olivia Hackmann (24) and junior guard Hannah Noe (25) during the Salukis’ 77-70 win Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, against the Redhawks at SIU Arena. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

Senior forward Kim Nebo muscled in a layup with 5:22 left in the third quarter that produced SIU’s first lead since the opening minutes. Nebo came alive in the second half, scoring 11 of her 17 points after halftime.

“As guards we just told Kim, ‘Hey, demand the ball,'” Napier said. “‘When we’re running plays, make sure the play is for you. Holler, scream, say our names, but want the ball inside.'”

Senior forward Kim Nebo tries to get around the Southeast Missouri defense Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, during SIU’s 77-70 win against the Redhawks in SIU Arena. (Sean Carley | @SeanMCarley)

Southeast Missouri wouldn’t go away easily and retook the lead late in the third, 53-50, before SIU pulled away in the fourth.

Stein had some new faces in the starting lineup and said the starters will keep rotating until she finds a group she likes.

“Brittney [Patrick] and Nicole [Martin] have been playing really well in practice,” Stein said. “I like to reward kids that come to practice hard. Honestly, some of those other kids [weren’t] practicing very hard.”

The Salukis will be back in action at 2 p.m. Sunday against Memphis at SIU Arena.

Staff writer Jonathan Thompson can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @TheReal_Jt3.

To stay up to date with all your SIU basketball news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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