Daily Egyptian

Saluki defense shines in women’s home opener win against UT Martin

By Dillon Gilliland

The SIU women’s basketball team earned their first win of the season in their home opener against the University of Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks (0-1)  84-72.

The matchup marked the 19th time that the Salukis have met with UT Martin, which led the all-time series 10-8.

SIU lost the last two matchups against the Skyhawks, as well as five out of the last six games.

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The two teams opened the game at a high pace and started off the first quarter with a full-court press.

Although UT Martin opened up with tight defense, Southern appeared to be unfazed as they began the first quarter with a 15-4 run as freshman forward Abby Brockmeyer led the charge with six points.

The press was really tough,” said freshman guard Makenzie Silvey. “Our point guards did a really good job handling it.”

The Salukis lacked the momentum at the end of the first quarter, as the Skyhawks brought the game to 21-16 in favor of SIU.

Defense was key for the Salukis in the first quarter as they forced seven turnovers with five steals and a block. Southern capitalized on UT Martin’s mistakes and put up eight points off of turnovers.

Dylan Nelson
Freshman guard Makenzie Silvey pushes her way through Skyhawk defense Friday, Nov. 10, 2017 during the Salukis’ 84-72 exhibition win against University of Tennessee Martin at SIU Arena (Dylan Nelson | @Dylan_Nelson99)

After they trailed for the majority of the first half, the Skyhawks found their first lead of the game late in the second quarter with three consecutive 3-pointers from sophomore guard Kendall Spray that made the score 31-29.

“She is a really good shooter,” said Silvey. “We had to do a better job of containing her.”

Although SIU struggled in the second quarter, the Salukis appeared to find their stride again as they pushed back in the final minute of the quarter. Southern took a 41-39 lead with 11 points from senior guard Kylie Giebelhausen.

Ball movement was an issue for the the Salukis in the second quarter, as they gave up six turnovers after only giving up four in the first quarter and were out-rebounded 18-15.

Southern started the third quarter on a good note, as they quickly opened their lead back up to double digits after up a layup from Brockmeyer made the score 51-41.

“Our first and third quarter starts are what really propelled us this game,” said head coach Cindy Stein.

Silvey was the one to watch in the third quarter,  as she put up three buckets from behind the arc to add to her total of 15 points.

Dylan Nelson
Freshman guard Makenzie Silvey dribbles past Skyhawks defense Friday, Nov. 10, 2017 during the Salukis’ 84-72 exhibition win against University of Tennessee Martin at SIU Arena (Dylan Nelson | @Dylan_Nelson99)

“I was really impressed with our freshmen,” Stein said. “I really thought there would be more nerves.”

Giebelhausen led the team with 25 points. She now only needs 37 points to reach the 1000 point mark.

“If our starters did not step up as scoring threats, I wouldn’t have had any open shots,” Giebelhausen said.

Sophomore guard Kristen Nelson led the team with eight assists on the night.

Giebelhausen and Nelson co-led the team in steals with four each.

Brockmeyer and sophomore forward Nicole Martin each had team-high eight rebounds on the night.

“Our energy is high and we play hard,” Stein said.

Up next, the Salukis (1-0) will travel to Birmingham, Alabama to take on the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers. Tip off is set for 4:30 p.m.

Sports reporter Dillon Gilliland can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @DillonGilliland.

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