A sour Sunday: Salukis suffer loss to Loyola

By Tamar Mosby, Sports Editor

Saluki women’s basketball closed their conference-opening road trip on a rather sour note with a 51-49 loss to the Loyola University Ramblers.

This afternoon’s match up proved to be a tough one in shooting and free throws for Southern as they went 4-11 from the charity stripe at 36.4% and 20-53 from the field at 37.7%.

All but three of the Salukis were held to five-point and under scoring and only two of the three reached double digits.

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Senior guard Kristen Nelson and senior forward Nicole Martin led the team in scoring this evening with Nelson scoring 15 points and Martin scoring 11.

Martin also led the team in rebounding grabbing six total, while Nelson led in the assists department with five.

Nelson’s performance tonight was note-worthy, as all of her points came in the second half and nearly half of these points were scored in the final minute of the game. The guard recorded a high shooting percentage in today’s game going 50% from the arc and 60% from the field.

For the Ramblers, junior guard Abby O’Connor (16 points) and sophomore forward Allison Day (11 points) were the top scorers of the game. The pair also led their team in rebounding with Day snatching down eight boards and O’Connor chipping in seven.

In today’s game, Loyola bested Southern in free throw percentage, field goal percentage, and rebounding.

Dissimilar to their start at Valpo, the Salukis (9-4, 1-1 MVC) struggled to score in the first period against the Ramblers being out-scored 15-10 in the first period.

Loyola was led by O’Connor who had six points in the period that included a three point jumper and an “and-one” layup, while scoring for Southern was spread evenly amongst four players.

A 4-1 scoring run led by O’Connor allowed the Ramblers to extend their lead over SIU to 11.

Southern would trail for the remainder of the half, but the team’s forwards kept them within reach as Martin, Walker, and junior Awa Keita were the only scorers in the second period. Martin and Keita each had two points, while Walker had four.

By the end of the first half, Loyola’s lead had been cut down to five bettering the chances for an SIU comeback.

At the half, Martin led the Salukis with six points, while O’Connor led the Ramblers with 10.

Martin continued to attack the basket and was the first player on either team  to score in the second half as she earned an offensive put-back.

Loyola (10-3, 1-1 MVC) continued to hold onto their five point lead until a layup from Walker cut it down to three.

A three point jumper from Nelson tied the game at 34-34 with just a minute left to play in the third period. This jumper was the final basket of the quarter sending the teams into the final period play.

The Ramblers regained the lead early in the fourth quarter with an 8-3 scoring run that pushed the score to 46-41.

Walker, Nelson, and Martin were the only Saluki scorers in the run and were the only Southern players to score for the rest of the game.

Nelson was the primary scorer for SIU in this period as 10 of her 15 points were scored in the fourth quarter. Seven of these points were scored in the final minute of the game.

This scoring effort cut the Rambler lead down to a single point with 30 seconds left to play.

A foul from Keita sent Loyola’s Day to the free throw line, where the forward went one-for-two from the stripe. 

After Day’s miss on the second free throw, the Ramblers were able to grab an offensive rebound, but the ball was stolen by Nelson with 10 seconds left on the clock.

SIU was unable to convert a basket with the time remaining on the clock and Loyola squeaked away with the 51-49 win.

The Salukis will next take their home floor against the University of Northern Iowa Panthers on Friday. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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

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