Daily Egyptian

Saluki women blowout Evansville on Senior Day

By Dillon Gilliland, Sports Reporter

The Southern Illinois women’s basketball team hosted the Evansville Purple Aces (3-26, 0-18) on Saturday afternoon for Senior Day.

In its completion of the season-series sweep, SIU blew out Evansville 66-41 in the final regular season game before the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.

The Salukis jumped out with a hot start and took an early 9-2 lead with six points by sophomore forward Nicole Martin.

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The Purple Aces refused to stay down and fought for an 8-2 run that brought them within one as time ran down in the first quarter.

SIU closed the opening period with a little bit of breathing room as its held a 15-10 lead.

Southern outscored Evansville 13-7 in the opening five minutes of the second quarter with buckets from four different players, including a 3-pointer from senior guard Kylie Giebelhausen. She finished the game with nine points and three assists.

Martin closed out the half with a buzzer-beating layup that sent SIU into halftime with a 32-19 lead over the Purple Aces. Martin went on to finish the contest with 15 points and seven rebounds, of which six came on offense.

“She was a matchup problem for them,” head coach Cindy Stein said. “They didn’t have a lot of size.”

After trading buckets in the opening minutes of the third, the Salukis were able to string together nine unanswered points and stretch the lead to 19 points.

Southern continued to extend its lead and went into the final period with a 52-29 advantage.

The Purple Aces could not get anything going in the fourth and suffered the 66-41 loss.

Once again, Southern found most of its success in the paint as it finished with 42 points in the post.

The Salukis also hit the boards on the offensive end of the floor and pulled down 16 offensive rebounds with 17 second-chance points.

The team put on another defensive performance as it forced 18 turnovers that led to 21 points in transition.

“We’re a really good defensive team,” Giebelhausen said. “We’ve shown it the last two games and hopefully we’ll carry it over to the tournament.”

In honor of Senior Day, Giebelhausen was recognized for her time with the program and the success she had in her four seasons.

“I’m going to miss the fans and the crowd,” Giebelhausen said. “They always seemed to get into the game.”

The Salukis will head to Moline, Illinois to compete in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament next week. Southern will face off against the Indiana State Sycamores on Friday. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.

“There was some good, bad and ugly today,” Stein said. “But we were in control the whole game.”

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

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