Free throw fatality: Southern falls to SEMO 79-65

 Free throws sunk Southern late in their matchup against SEMO as 11 straight free throws pushed SEMO out to a 79-65 win.

The Southern Illinois Salukis women’s basketball team (5-3) faced off against the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (5-2) today.

The teams had played against each other 10 times prior and the Salukis had won the last five matchups against them.

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Both teams started the game off with a pair of turnovers each.

Junior guard Carrie Shepard scored the first points of the game for the Redhawks as they went up 2-0 with 8:15 left in the first period.

The Salukis would take their first lead of the game with a three-pointer by junior guard Mackenzie Silvie giving SIU a 7-5 lead with just under six minutes left in the first period.

The Salukis  ran out to a 12-5 lead as they went on a 10-0  scoring run with just over two minutes left in the first period.

Junior forward Gabby Walker led the way on the run with four points, with senior guard Kristen Nelson capping the end of the run with a made free throw.

 A foul by senior forward Nicole Martin brought Southeast Missouri State to the free throw line as they made their shot ending their drought at with just over two minutes left in the first quarter.

The Salukis lead would be cut to four as senior guard Adrianna Murphy made it a 15-11 game with 1:00 minute left in the first period.

After SIU sputtered to end the first quarter, senior guard Brittney Patrick got a steal to start the second quarter but Silvey missed her three point jumper in transition.

The Redhawks rattled off four points to start the second quarter cutting the Saluki lead to 20-18.

Southern did not score until the clock hit eight minutes in the second period with a free throw from junior forward Awa Keita, Martin added a jumper on the fastbreak to put SIU back out to a five point lead.

The Salukis missed their next three shots including two jumpers by Silvey while SEMO pulled ahead 25-23 midway through the second period.

Southeast Missouri made three three-pointers led by senior guard Jessie Harshberger pushing the Redhawk lead to 36-29 with just over a minute left in the first half.

Southern responded quickly with a three-point play by Keita where she was fouled on her layup making the layup and the free throw after.

Silvey added a jumper as well to bring the Salukis within two heading into the locker room.

Going into the half junior forward Abby Brockmeyer and Silvey were leading the way for the Salukis with seven points each while Pruitt was lead the way for the Redhawks with nine points. 

Coming out of the locker room both teams struggled to score, with both teams combining to miss three shots to start the third period.

Nelson stole the ball away and passed it to Walker at the 8:37 mark where Walker made the layup on the fast break knotting the score back up.

Both teams traded leads over the next four minutes until a layup by Walker put Southern ahead by two.

The Redhawks cut the lead to one with a free throw but a jumper by Brockmeyer pushed the Saluki lead out to three.

Three free throws and a jumper later SEMO retook the lead from Southern 53-51 with 1:38 left in the third quarter.

Silvey sank a three-pointer to begin the fourth period for Southern and Martin made one of her two free throws as they cut into Southeast Missouri lead.

The Salukis scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to tie the score once again at 57-57.

Southeast Missouri State would make their first points of the period as Murphy made two free throws with just under seven minutes left in the fourth period giving the Redhawks a 59-57 lead. 

The Salukis got within one point of SEMO after the tie, with a made free throw by Keita, but the Redhawks then ran off to a 6-0 run making it 66-60 with 2:35 left in the game.

SIU pulled back within four with free throws by Brockmeyer and Walker but the Redhawks answered with 11 straight points off free throws to extend their lead to 77-62.

A three-pointer by Nelson was the final score for Southern and SEMO added two more points from the line to close out a 79-65 victory over SIU.

The Salukis will play next Sunday  versus the Murray State University Racers at the Banterra Center. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.

Sports reporter Zach Kramer can be reached at [email protected]

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