Jumper buries SIU in final seconds

Jumper buries SIU in final seconds

By Symone Woolridge

The SIU women’s basketball team fell short against Austin Peay State University Tuesday, despite a fight until the very end.

APSU sophomore guard Tiasha Gray scored in the last 1.9 seconds of the game, making the final score 71- 69. The last time SIU and APSU met was during the 2011-2012 season, when the Salukis fell to the Lady Governors 76-70.

Although the Salukis didn’t leave the arena with a win, the SIU women improved drastically with the leadership of new coach Cindy Stein. This is Stein’s second game as a Saluki, and she has been working her players physically and mentally.


After Friday’s loss, Stein said the women are still working to play better defense.

“I feel like we have really made a transition since the last game. There’s probably about seven fouls that were just stupid,” Stein said. “Unfortunately we tend to have some brain fades like that that we are trying to eliminate, and I think we will get better and more instinctive of what we need to do.”

Stein said the urgency of coming to practice has changed drastically. The Salukis are gaining confidence in each other and as a team. In practice, the women have improved their communication and positioning on the floor.

The Salukis pulled away with a much better experience at the free-throw line Tuesday, making 16 of 18 in the first half.

Junior guard Cartaesha Macklin played a huge role in free throws, as she scored 10 of her 18 first half points at the line. Macklin led the Salukis with 20 points.

Macklin accumulated three personal fouls in the first half, forcing Stein to limit her playing time.

Junior forward Azia Washington grabbed seven rebounds and a steal in the first half. The first half consisted of seven lead changes and 10 ties.


Washington led the Salukis with 13 rebounds and scored eight points. Although she played well defensively, Washington was still hard on herself.

“If the team is not winning, then you can take away all of that,” Washington said. “I would rather have a bad game and win, than have nice stats and lose.”

The Salukis led the Lady Govs 43- 40 at halftime but battled with nine lead changes and nine ties in the second half.

“How we are working and what we are learning isn’t necessarily being projected on the court, and, like coach said, we have to play the whole game,” Washington said. “In some spurts we play well and in some spurts we don’t.”

The Salukis stayed close to the Lady Govs, never letting the game slip away. Macklin scored her 20th point of the game, tying the game at 69 with 31.1 seconds left.

“It was nerve-wracking, but you live for those games … you want to win them,” Macklin said. “It came down to the final draw, and I give credit to them.”

Junior guard Mercedes Griffin played close defense on Gray, but it wasn’t enough as Gray captured the last two points for the APSU win.

“When it comes down to the last seconds of play and they have their best player against our best defender there is something we are doing right,” Stein said.

Gray led the Lady Govs with 14 points, and shot 100 percent from the free-throw line.

“I know Austin Peay is a good quality team that are very well coached,” Stein said. “But I am so focused on our team and how we will get better cause we can’t just get better game by game. We have to look down the road too.”

Stein said the Salukis are concentrating on the game of basketball much better than they were before. She is not happy with the second consecutive loss, but is content with the improvement. The Salukis are developing their game after a 5-26 record last season.

“I don’t believe in moral victories,” Stein said. “I’m encouraged because there are things we are doing that’s better than before but I’m discouraged because I feel like this game is a game that did slip away.”

The Salukis head to Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne Monday.