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Saluki weekend wrap-up

SIU athletics were in action this weekend with 11 different events in six sports during a three-day period. Overall, the Salukis played well with a record of 10-2 in the weekend’s combined events.

Men’s basketball: Dawgs finally control their own destiny

On the hardwood, men and women’s basketball travelled to Evansville, Ind., for late season matchups against the University of Evansville Purple Aces.

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Saturday, the men’s team picked up a crucial late-season win over Evansville 61-56.

In the first half, SIU hit 44 percent of its shots and jumped to a 14-point lead with 11 minutes left in the first half. Evansville fought back for the remainder of the half to cut SIU’s lead down to just seven points going to halftime.

With 43 seconds left Evansville’s Blake Simmons knocked down a 3-pointer to make the score 56-54 in favor of SIU. Evansville had an opportunity to take the lead after an Anthony Beane turnover but the Purple Aces gave the ball right back.

SIU’s win stemmed from the team’s ability to shut down Evansville sophomore D.J. Balentine, the Missouri Valley Conference’s leading scorer. The Saluki defense held Balentine to just two points.

The Salukis were led by Beane on the offensive end. Beane scored 22 points in the win and has put up at least 20 points in seven of the past eight games.

Women’s basketball: Seniors hope for answers despite blowout game

As the season winds down, the Salukis set a school record, but not the type of record they want to remember after their 67-31 loss against the University of Evansville.

The final score marks the lowest scoring game the Salukis have had in 39 years. The loss drops SIU to 4-21 overall and 2-11 in the MVC.

The Salukis have been searching for a win they haven’t found in seven consecutive games. The last time the Aces and Salukis met at the SIU Arena, the home team grabbed an 11-point win.

Senior guard Sydney Goins said the difference between the two games was the flow, the amount of turnovers, and confidence.

“We had a lot of turnovers this game and obviously we can’t get into our offense without the ball, so those points off of the transitions really got us, ” she said.

During the second half SIU let its guard down and were outscored 40-8.

Purple Aces freshman and MVC leading scorer Sara Dickey showed SIU what it has to look forward to for the next three years. Dickey led her team with 18 points.

Despite working harder physically, coach Cindy Stein has been working to boost the Salukis’ mental confidence since the start of the season.

“That’s one thing we really have to work on—is fighting throughout,” she said. “I can’t stand going to someone’s gym and have them out-hustle us.”

The Salukis were 2 of 22 from the floor in the second half. Senior guard Jordyn Courier scored nearly one-third of SIU’s points, finishing with 11.

Goins and Courier are wrapping up the final games of their college career. Courier said the team would continue to grow and get better as the seasons progress.

“I just think everybody needs to continue to listen to what coach Stein says because coach knows what she’s talking about,” Courier said. “I feel like she will definitely turn the program around but everyone just needs to get behind her.”

With two home and two away games left, the women want to end their season strong. SIU hosts back-to-back games beginning Thursday against Missouri State University.

Softball: Salukis win one, drop another

On the diamond, softball and baseball continued their young season.

The softball team entered the weekend’s set of games with a record of 4-5. The team travelled to Jacksonville, Fla. for the second straight week, this time for the Jacksonville Invitational. SIU was originally scheduled to play five games, but action was rained out Friday and Sunday leaving SIU with just two games to play Saturday.

Saturday, SIU played Bethune-Cookman University winning easily 12-2 in five innings. Senior Jana Spivey’s four RBIs, three of which came on a double on the fourth inning, led the Dawgs to the win.

SIU also got a boost from their pitching. Senior Katie Bertelsen threw all five innings for the Salukis and earned her second win of the season.

In game two, the Salukis failed to get anything going offensively against Jacksonville University. The Dolphins pitching held SIU to just four hits in its 9-2 win.

SIU still had a chance in the sixth inning trailing just 4-1. In the last two innings, Jacksonville scored five runs to put the Salukis away.

Senior catcher Allie VadeBoncouer was one of three Salukis to get on base with a hit in the game against the Dolphins. VadeBoncouer has now reached base in her last six games.

Coach Kerri Blaylock said the team addressed their lack of consistency earlier this week.

“I still believe in our hitters. I think we have a very good hitting ball club,” Blaylock said. “Softball and baseball are games of failure. You need to understand that you will fail. You need to understand how to rebound back from not having a great at-bat.”

Baseball: Dawgs win two despite Sunday weather woes

The Salukis played in the Carmel Inn Showdown in Thibodaux, La. SIU was able to improve its record to 4-2 with two wins from the weekend’s games.

SIU played Western Illinois University in the first game of the weekend Friday.

The Salukis scored their first four runs of the game in the bottom of the first inning to take a 4-1 lead. SIU would put up six runs the rest of the game to eventually post a 10-3 win.

Saturday, SIU played the Colonels of Nicholls State University.

SIU senior pitcher Todd Eaton gave up a homerun in each of the first two innings of the game to put the Salukis in a hole early in the game.

SIU scored seven runs in the next two innings to jump to a 7-3 lead. Over the next four innings, SIU let the five run lead slip away and the Colonels tied the game 7-7 in the bottom of the eighth inning.

The game needed extra innings to decide a winner, and in the 11 th frame, SIU found their winner. With one out, freshman Jake Hand hit a single to centerfield that scored senior Matt Jones from second base to give SIU an 8-7 lead and the eventual win.

Coach Ken Henderson said despite the win, he was let down by his team blowing the four-run lead in the fifth inning.

“It was honestly disappointing we let that lead get away,” Henderson said. “We made some mistakes to let them back in the game, we’re going to do that once in a while.”

The final game against the University of Louisiana-Monroe was cancelled because of rain.

Men’s tennis: SIU tennis starts streaking

SIU’s men’s team beat Eastern Illinois University 5-2 in its only match of the weekend. The Salukis are currently on a roll winning their last four matches.

Freshmen Jeremy Dixon and Filip Aleksic won their first match as a doubles pair this season, the win was also Dixon’s first at the collegiate level. Sophomore Jonny Rigby won his fifth straight singles match over Moritz Kandt 6-2, 6-4. Aleksic has also won five straight singles matches, he beat Rui Silva 6-4, 6-4.

Women’s tennis: Salukis sweep home matches

The women’s team played three home matches collecting wins in all of them.

Friday, SIU played Arkansas State University at Garden Grove Event Center, picking up the win 5-2. The Salukis swept all three matches in doubles competition to take the first point of the day. In singles play, the Dawgs continued their momentum and won four of the six singles match to take the win.

The women’s team played the University of Tennessee-Martin Sunday and had another 5-2 win. SIU grabbed the doubles point by winning two of three matches against the Skyhawks. SIU won four of six singles matches in commanding fashion to solidify the team’s fifth straight win.

On Sunday, SIU defeated Southeastern Missouri State University 4-3. The Salukis won the doubles point for the third straight match winning two of three matches. SIU took two of three matches during doubles play. The duo of freshman Meagan Monaghan and junior Natasha Tomishima’s match was not finished.

In singles play SIU took three out of six matches to clinch their sixth straight win. With her win over the Redhawks, Tomishima has now won four straight matches.

Track & field: Throwers shine during night meet

SIU competed in the Friday Night Special hosted by Eastern Illinois University.

Sophomore thrower Josh Freeman continued to rack up the accolades. Freeman took first in the shot put, setting a new SIU indoor record with a throw of 63 feet nine inches.

In the weight throw, the men and women took first place. Junior Curtis Wideman won on the men’s side with a throw of 67 feet 11 inches. Wideman’s throw ranks him 16th nationally in the weight throw.

For the women, junior Sophia Lozano’s throw of 65 feet 9 inches is the best throw among the MVC, and also the 14 th-best throw nationwide.

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