Women’s basketball: Salukis snag victory over Valparaiso 87-65 during Black Out Cancer game

By Tamar Mosby, Staff Reporter

The Saluki Women’s Basketball team (9-8, MVC 2-4) defeated the Valparaiso University Crusaders (5-13, MVC 1-5) 87-65 in this evening’s Blackout Cancer game to earn their second conference win of the season.

“It’s good to get back on track,” said Cindy Stein, Salukis head coach. “I thought our kids fought hard. I loved our energy tonight.”

The Blackout Cancer game is a product of SIU Athletics’ partnership with Southern Illinois Healthcare. During Blackout Cancer games fans are able to bid on player jerseys with proceeds being donated to the SIH Cancer Institute.

Tonight’s matchup was only the third meeting of the two teams historically, Valpo being a MVC newcomer.

Both teams entered tonight searching for a second conference win, both sharing a 1-4 conference play record.

The Dawgs remain undefeated in the all time series against the Crusaders after tonight leading three wins to none.

Southern’s win tonight ended their four game conference losing streak.

“Losing those four games really pushed us to to win the game tonight,” said Nicole Martin, junior forward. “We knew we had to win this game.”

Despite losing four straight games, Stein said her team remained focused and hopeful coming into tonight’s matchup.

“Even with the losses our team has always come back with good energy and positive spirits,” Stein said. “It’s good to be back.”

Sophomore forward Abby Brockmeyer opened the scoring for tonight’s matchup on a layup with a pass coming from junior guard Brittney Patrick.

With the Crusaders struggling to score, Southern continued to get to the basket to put points on the board.

Back-to-back three point plays from sophomore guards Makenzie Silvey and Brockmeyer brought the score to 8-0, with Valpo remaining scoreless.

Brockmeyer went on to tally 11 points and six rebounds.

A layup from Patrick made the score 10-0, but a two point jumper just seconds later from Valparaiso was able to break the Saluki scoring run.

It took two more minutes for the Crusaders to get another basket while the SIU women continued to charge ahead to bringing the score to 14-4.

A pair of free throws for Valpo was able to raise the Crusaders score by another two points, but the Dawgs responded with another layup from senior center Celina Vanhyfte.

After the layup from SIU, Valpo immediately came down the court to score a three point jumper, but again, Van Hyfte had an answer as she got to the foul line to make both of her free throws.

With every basket Valpo made, Southern attacked the basket to make a bucket of their own.

Scoring in the first period was closed on a pair of Saluki free throws made by Martin. The score entering the second was 26-11 in favor of the Dawgs.

A foul by Brockmeyer and a pair of made free throws by the Crusaders kicked off the second quarter.

On the very next possession, the Salukis scored their first points of the period on two good free throws from Martin with the score at 28-13. A Crusader turnover allowed Patrick the opportunity to speed down the floor and drain a three point jumper for SIU.

Patrick finished the night with 11 points, seven rebounds and nine assists.

Despite Valpo scoring a layup on the next possession, Southern attacked the basket again to respond with a layup of their own.

Scoring continued to seesaw amongst the two teams with the Dawgs keeping their commanding lead.

The SIU women then took off on a 4-1 scoring run allowed them to end the first half 42-24 putting them up by 18 points.

This scoring run featured a layup and three pointer from junior guard Kristen Nelson, a layup from Silvey and a layup from Patrick.

Martin came out with momentum in the second half for Southern making moves to the basket and scoring two back-to back layups.

“We knew something had to change going into this game,” Martin said. “Our goal was to come in tough and aggressive and that’s what we did.”

Martin went on to score 16 points and snatch down five rebounds.

While the Crusader guards attempted to keep their team afloat, the Saluki guards, like Nelson and Silvey, lit up the floor with three pointers.

Nelson went 3-3 from the three point line and second in scoring tonight with 17 points.

A steal and mid range jumper from Patrick made the score 59-30 giving Valparaiso little to no chance to catch up.

Valpo guard Addison Stoller attacked the basket to get an “and-1” basket for her team, but failed to drain her free throw.

Stoller finished leading her team with a double-double, scoring 22 points.

The third quarter was filled with fouls from both teams, as Martin was sent to the line on the very next possession to make one of two free throws.

Silvey had the final word in the third quarter draining a three point jumper in the last five seconds of the period to make the score 71-51 with the Dawgs up by 20.

Silvey led Southern in scoring tonight with 21 points and six rebounds.

After three scoreless minutes, the Crusaders got to the basket scoring a layup to make the score 71-53 at the start of the fourth quarter.

Seeming to capitalize on their small momentum Valpo scored just moments later on a three point jumper.

Brockmeyer and Nelson responded to this small burst, with two back-to-back layups to keep the Salukis up 76-56.

Continuing their domination in the fourth quarter, SIU had five players in double digit scoring with just under four minutes left to play.

Even with having such a successful offensive game, Stein was very pleased with her team’s defensive efforts and commended junior forward Lauren Hartman on her defensive assignment.

“We definitely want to have a lot of people scoring double figures, but the key to the game today was Lauren Hartman,” Stein said. “Her stats may not show it, but she came in and shut their top player down. To me – she’s the player of the game.”

Silvey continued to lead the Southern charge scoring a three point play to bring the score to 81-59.

“We knew we needed to come out with a lot of energy and we did,” Silvey said. “That allowed us to get off to a really good start and that really got us into the flow of things.”

Despite an amazing scoring performance by SIU, the Crusaders continued to get to the basket to score quick buckets, but this wasn’t enough to relieve the massive scoring deficit.

“We were just trying our best to push the ball up the floor,” Stein said. “Valpo are good scorers and we wanted to have more possessions than they did.”

While the game was closed on a Valpo layup, Silvey closed the scoring for the Dawgs with a layup scoring her 21st point of the night.

“They packed their defense in because Nicole was tearing them up and that led to a lot of open shots on the outside that we were able to knock down,” Silvey said. “I think we were over 50% from the three.”

The Salukis topped the Valpo Crusaders, 87-65, to close out tonight’s game.

“I think our team knows we’re better than what we’ve been playing,” Stein said. “We feel that we can still compete on a high level, but we have to keep proving it one game at a time.”

The Dawgs will be back in action this Sunday at 2 p.m. as they take on the Loyola Ramblers at SIU Arena.

Sports reporter Tamar Mosby can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @mosbytamar.

To stay up to date with all your Southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.