Salukis flush out Aces

Salukis flush out Aces

By Symone Woolridge

After a week of rest, the SIU women’s basketball team (4-14, MVC 2-5) gave an enormous effort against the University of Evansville (7-11, MVC 2-5) and topped the Purple Aces 66-57.

The Salukis collected their first win in six games and added a second win to their conference record.

Both teams began the first half scoring exchanging baskets. The score tied three times within the first few minutes of play.


After the first 10 minutes, sophomore center Dyana Pierre and sophomore forward Azia Washington shared all of the team’s points until junior guard Mercedes Griffin drove to the basket to draw a foul and a made free throw.

The Purple Aces played tight defense against the Salukis, but the home team continued to fight. The Aces extended their largest lead by nine with nearly five and a half minutes left in the half.

The Salukis bounced back with four quick points added by Pierre and Washington to close the deficit to five. Sophomore guard Hannah Shores scored two back-to-back buckets with a minute and a half left before halftime.

SIU was down by eight until freshman guard Carlie Corrigan hit a three-pointer to cut the Aces lead to 30-25 at the midway point.

By halftime the Salukis had out-rebounded Evansville on the offensive boards 15 to five.

“I was very pleased with the way our kids really went after the boards this game,” Coach Cindy Stein said. “Our kids did a great job of managing the game, understanding what they needed to do, and step up to get the job done.”

To begin the second half, the Salukis came out tough and played lock-down defense. They were able to get two steals in the first two minutes of the half.


SIU gained momentum and went on a 6-2 run with senior guard Jordyn Courier hitting a three-pointer to tie the game 34-34.

Soon after, it became the Pierre show. Pierre had eight straight points to put the Salukis up 42-38.

She tallied yet another double-double to her record book. The Saluki led SIU with 24 points and 14 rebounds, collecting 16 of those points in the second half.

“I had to pick it up and I felt I wasn’t playing hard like I should be,” Pierre said. “I was letting them get into my head because they were all on me in the first half, hitting me and [officials] weren’t calling a foul.”

Purple Aces freshman guard Sara Dickey answered back, collecting nine consecutive points for Evansville. The freshman ended her night scoring 30 of her teams 57 points.

“We were really struggling with guarding her the entire game but Mercedes did a great job of staying with her and denying her the ball,” Stein said. “You hate to spot a kid 30 points, but that’s pure effort. But I think Mercedes kept her away from the ball as much as possible.”

The Salukis held Dickey to only two points in the final eight minutes of the game.

Griffin turned it on in the final eight minutes and finished with 11 points. She also led the team in steals with five.

“Coach talked a lot about us out-scrapping people,” Griffin said. “She calls it getting a lot of the ‘bam bam’ plays and I think that’s what we did tonight. We outworked them and out-scrapped them and that’s basically what the game came down to.”

After a missed free-throw attempt, Griffin stole the ball and sprinted down court on a fast break to expand the Salukis’ lead 61-53 with under a minute left.

From then on, SIU drained five free throws to claim the win and record its second conference win.

The Salukis’ home streak is over and they will head to Wichita State University Friday evening.

The Shockers have not lost a game since Nov. 15 and are undefeated in conference play. Stein said this would be the toughest road trip for the Salukis.

“I think it’s good for us because we keep harping that when things go bad and you keep playing hard, good things come,” Stein said. “And it’s good for them to recognize that that is true and they keep fighting.”

Symone Woolridge can be reached at [email protected] on twitter @swoolridge_DE or 536-3311 ext 269