SIU women’s basketball splits pair of games at UMKC tournament


SIU coach Cindy Stein encourages the Salukis during the team’s 77-70 win Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, against Southeast Missouri at SIU Arena. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

By Sean Carley

SIU women’s basketball was able to complete a stunning comeback in the first game of its tournament road trip, but was unable to do so in the second.

The Salukis beat host Missouri-Kansas City on Monday, then fell to reigning Women’s NIT champion South Dakota on Tuesday in the UMKC tournament.

SIU’s first game of the tourney required the Salukis’ largest comeback of the season to clinch victory.


UMKC held a 16-point lead early in the second half before being outscored by the Salukis 54-32 in the final two quarters to win 77-69.

Senior guard Rishonda Napier scored all 16 of her points in the second half after going 0-9 in the first. Junior Kylie Giebelhausen and forward Kim Nebo also caught fire after halftime, scoring 10 points each.

The Salukis’ shooting improved by more than 20 percent after the halftime break, going from 34.5 percent in the first half to 58.1 in the second.

SIU also improved on the defensive side.

With the exception of junior forward Samantha Waldron, the Kangaroos were only able to make three shots as a team in the second half.

Waldron was nearly the entire Kangaroo offense throughout the game, taking 25 of their 63 shots for 37 points.

She was able to tie the game at 66 with a layup. SIU went on to make every shot, including six free throws down the stretch to put the game away.


Each of the Saluki starters scored at least eight points, including freshmen Kristen Nelson (nine points) and Nicole Martin (eight points) who both made every shot they attempted.

But the Salukis were unable to carry over that shooting on Tuesday, losing to South Dakota 68-57.

USD marched out to a 12-0 lead to start the game and never trailed for a wire-to-wire victory.

Senior center Abigail Fogg and sophomore guard Allison Arens scored nine points in that run, while also leading the team with 19 and 17 points, respectively. Fogg nearly had a double-double, finishing with nine rebounds.

SIU cut the Coyote lead to nine points four times in the second half, but never got closer than that.

Napier scored 16 points for the second game in a row, which earned her a spot on the All-Tournament team.

The reigning women’s NIT champions were able to shut down the rest of the starting lineup, holding it to 21 combined points.

Both teams committed 14 turnovers, but USD was able to take advantage of the Saluki errors, scoring 16 points off turnovers to SIU’s six.

Freshman forward Lauren Hartman was a bright spot off the bench for the Salukis, adding a career-high nine points.

The tournament closes out SIU’s non-conference schedule. SIU faces Loyola next at 6 p.m. Dec. 30 at SIU Arena.

Sports editor Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @SeanMCarley.

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