Salukis defeat Illinois State in second matchup of season


Saluki freshman guard Kristen Nelson attempts to keep the ball away from Redbird sophomore guard Katrina Beck during SIU’s 57-48 victory against Illinois State on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, at SIU Arena. Nelson scored five points in the game. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

By Jonathan Thompson

The SIU women’s basketball team got its second win of the season over Illinois State on Friday, this time winning 57-48.

The Salukis (13-13, 7-8 Missouri Valley Conference) took control early in the first quarter, with senior guard Rishonda Napier making a layup for the first basket of the game.

Senior guard Brechelle Beachum made a layup on the other end for the Redbirds’ first points of the game.


Beach finished with 13 points, four steals and four rebounds.

After a couple of plays, Southern went on 3-0 and 5-0 runs that extended SIU’s lead, 12-3.

The Redbirds (7-20, 4-12 MVC) recovered quickly and went on a big 8-0 run that put them ahead 13-12 with 24 seconds remaining.

With less than 10 seconds on the clock, Napier gave SIU a 15-13 advantage going into the second quarter.

The 5-foot-5-inch guard had 13 points and four steals in her second to last home game.

Southern went on two 5-0 runs to put them ahead by 10 right out of the first quarter break.

SIU played great defense in the first half by holding ISU to 37.5 percent shooting, 0-7 from deep and forcing 11 turnovers.


The Salukis went into halftime with a 32-20 advantage.

Senior point guard Rishonda Napier takes the ball down the court during SIU’s 57-48 victory against Illinois State on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, at SIU Arena. Napier scored 13 points in the game. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Southern scored first in the third quarter when senior Kylie Giebelhausen hit a 3-pointer from the wing.

She tallied 18 points and five rebounds.

ISU responded with a 6-0 run sparked by sophomore guard Viria Livingston’s layup — the run cut SIU’s lead to just 11 with 7:22 remains in the quarter.

Livingston had seven points and six rebounds.

This was by far the Salukis’ lowest-scoring quarter of the game — they only added 9 points to the board but were able to hold onto the lead, 41-33.

“We stopped moving,” Napier said. “If we would’ve come out and had the same first or second quarter, the margin of victory would’ve been greater.”

Illinois State senior guard Brechelle Beachum, Redbird freshman forward Megan Talbot and SIU senior forward Kim Nebo go for the ball Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, during SIU’s 57-48 win over Illinois State at SIU Arena. (Luke Nozicka | @lukenozicka)

Southern got back on track quickly and scored six unanswered points to begin the fourth quarter.

SIU remained in control the remainder of the game.

Illinois State only shot 1-12 (8.3 percent) from behind the 3-point line.

“Most of their team [is] drivers,” Giebelhausen said. “As long as you bothered them a little, I think that helped out, and you play them for the drive. That was our plan of action.”

The Salukis play their last home game of the season at 2 p.m. Sunday against Bradley.

“Bradley’s a great team — they swept Missouri State,” coach Cindy Stein said. “You know Missouri State was someone we had a hard time staying with. We’ve got to be ready, and defensively our sense of urgency has to be there or they’ll run us out of the gym.”

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

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