Daily Egyptian

Saluki women bow out of MVC Tournament

By Dillon Gilliland, Sports Reporter

The Salukis fell just short of a stunner in the semifinal round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament with a 68-59 loss to the Drake Bulldogs.

With a shot at redemption against No. 1 Drake — who swept the season series — No. 4 SIU came into the contest with a chance to advance to the finals of Hoops in the Heartland.

Southern jumped to an early lead in the first quarter with two quick buckets from freshman forward Abby Brockmeyer for an 8-2 advantage. Brockmeyer finished with 12 points, four rebounds and two assists.

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With two 3-pointers by freshman guard Makenzie Silvey, the Salukis headed into the second period with a double-digit lead of 18-8.

The Bulldogs began to fight their way back into the game early in the second with a 7-2 run that brought them within five of Southern.

Drake continued its surge and took the lead by outscoring SIU 14-6 in the second quarter. The Bulldogs finished the half with a slight 29-26 advantage over Southern.

The Salukis came out hot in the third period and put together six unanswered points with a 3-pointer from senior guard Kylie Giebelhausen that put SIU in front by three. The senior finished with five points, five rebounds, five assists, three blocks and a steal.

After it surrendered the lead to Drake, Southern put up another six unanswered points sparked by a jumper from Silvey and went up by five midway through the third. Silvey finished with a team-high 17 points with three rebounds and two assists.

The Bulldogs outscored the Salukis 15-4 for the remainder of the quarter and carried a six-point lead into the final 10 minutes of play.

In the final quarter, Drake rattled off a 16-7 run and claimed its largest lead of the game at 64-49 with just over three minutes remaining.

The Salukis responded, however, and fought for a 10-0 run with six points from sophomore forward Nicole Martin — who finished with 13 points and four rebounds — that brought the Salukis within five in the final minute.

Southern could not sustain its run, though, and fell short in the late comeback attempt, 68-59.

Drake advanced to the final round of the MVC Tournament and will play the winner of Saturday evening’s matchup between No. 2 Missouri State and No. 3 Northern Iowa. Tip-off for the championship matchup is scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m.

The Salukis concluded the 2017-18 season with an overall record of 17-14 and an 11-7 record in MVC play.

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

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