Moving up: Dawgs complete weekend sweep topping Loyola

By Tamar Mosby, Staff Reporter

The Saluki women (10-8, MVC 3-4) continued in their home conference play today as they took on the Loyola Ramblers (9-9, MVC 3-4), winning the game 74-63.

This afternoon’s matchup marked the 16th meeting of the two teams in a series dating back to 1982. Entering the game, Southern led Loyola in the all-time series 8-7 with just a single win separating the two teams. After SIU’s win tonight the all-time series now sits at 9-7.

The Dawgs  went into the game seeking their third conference win of the season, after winning their second on Friday to Valparaiso. All while the Ramblers were seeking their fourth conference win.

A two point mid range jumper from Saluki sophomore guard Makenzie Silvey opened the scoring for the matchup. Silvey finished the night with 12 points, five rebounds, and four assists.

Southern’s defense started off strong as they locked their opposers down keeping them scoreless for the first four minute of the game. A foul on the visitor’s end sent Silvey to the free throw line where she made one of two shots, bringing the score to 3-0.

On the next possession, a three point jump shot from Loyola guard Janae Gonzales tied the score for the first time in the evening. Keeping their momentum, the Ramblers attacked the basket again to get to the foul line giving Loyola their first lead of the night by just one point.

Junior guard Kristen Nelson responded to this by attacking the basket to score a layup and give her team the lead once again. Gonzales continued to light up the Southern defense from the arc draining two back-to-back three pointers to put the Ramblers up 10-7.

A drained SIU three pointer from the top of the key by senior center Celina Van Hyfte tied the game 10-10 leaving the score at the tied at the end of the first quarter.

The first basket of the second half came on a tip- in from junior forward Nicole Martin, but this Saluki lead was short lived as Gonzales drained her fourth three of the night to put Loyola up by one.

“I think we did a great job on the boards and Coach Stein really stressed boxing out,” Martin said. “We just came in knowing what we had to do.”

A three point play from sophomore forward Abby Brockmeyer and a following layup by Martin switched the score once again giving the Dawgs a 17-15 lead.

“When we started to knock down outside shots, it got Nicole open,” Brockmeyer said. “At first we couldn’t it the ball inside because they were doubling her, so once we knocked down shots the floor opened up inside out.”

Freshman guard Payton McCallister then drained a three pointer from the wing to extend the SIU lead to 20-15.

“We got some really good minutes from kids on the bench, specifically Payton McCallister,” Stein said. McCallister finished the evening with 10 points.

Both teams continued to attack the hoop and make tough shots, but the Salukis managed to stay ahead and keep the lead.

With 30 seconds left on the clock, the Ramblers moved the ball down the floor to drain a quick three point jumper and tie the game at 22-22. Southern was unable to beat the clock for a final basket and the first half ended with a tied score.

“I felt like we were rushing things on offense in the first half, but playing pretty hard defense,” Stein said. “In the second half we put it all together with better offense and defense.”

Brockmeyer opened scoring in the second half for the Dawgs spinning off of her defender to finish with a left hand layup in the middle of the lane. She went on to score 13 points and snatch down nine rebounds.

This bucket was immediately followed by another two from Silvey and Martin on a fastbreak layups to make the score 28-22.

A Rambler three pointer brought the score to 28-25, but a free throw from Martin pushed the SIU lead to four. Martin led the team tonight posting a double-double of 18 points and ten rebounds.

On the next six possession, the teams scored back-and-forth jumpers with three Southern three pointers from junior guard Brittney Patrick, Silvey and Brockmeyer.

These three pointers and two layups each from Silvey and Brockmeyer pushed the Saluki lead to 42-33.

The final points of the third quarter came from Van Hyfte as she went one for two on a pair of free throws leaving the score 45-36 at the end of the half.

Quarter four was opened with a Loyola layup to make the score 45-38.

Patrick responded with a layup of her own to keep the Ramblers at a safe distance. A mid range jump shot from Martin and another three from Brockmeyer extended the lead to a comfortable 52-38.

“Any game where we can limit turnovers it’s going to be a good game,” Brockmeyer said. “Because that converts to more shots, which converts to more points.”

While Loyola struggled to put the ball through the hoop, SIU continued to thrive adding another three points to their lead on an “and-1” from Martin.

The Ramblers continued to fight passed their Saluki defenders, but the Southern charge was too much to handle as the Dawgs scored on three straight possessions.

Gonzales then drained two back-to-back three pointers for Loyola to make the score 62-50. Her second three pointer marked her 22nd point of the game.

With a minute left in the final quarter, Patrick attacked the basket to get to the foul line making one of two free throws.

The remaining seconds of the game were dragged out by Rambler fouls as they attempted to catch SIU. During this time, the Dawgs made six free throws to bring their total score to 74 points.

“We just went into this game understanding what had to be done going off of four losses,” Martin said. “We focused and did what we had to do.”

Within the final 30 seconds of the game, Gonzales drained another two three pointers to give her 30 of Loyola’s 63 points.

“Loyola matched up with us pretty well and they have great shooters,” Stein said. “I felt like we kept the shooters in check for the most part, besides the last minute of the game.”

The game was ended on a pair of Rambler free throws bringing to make the final score 74-63 in favor of Southern.

“These weekend wins were huge in getting our confidence back,” Stein said. “We have to continue to work hard. This isn’t a time to relax, but this makes us feel like we’re going in the right direction.”

The Dawgs will take the floor again in Cedar Falls, Iowa to take on the University of Northern Iowa Panthers with tip-off set for 7 p.m.

“It feels good to dominate this weekend and have our confidence underneath us,” Brockmeyer said. “We’re ready to take on UNI and Drake.”

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

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