The Salukis kept a close game in their final two season home games but lost both weekend matchups.
The Salukis lost 77-61 Friday against Bradley and 74-60 Sunday against Northern Iowa.
After losing to Bradley 90-48 Feb. 2, the Salukis kept the Braves’ lead within 6 points for the game’s first 11 minutes. The Braves then went on a 7-0 run to extend the lead to 29-19. Bradley took the lead into halftime with a 43-30 advantage thanks to the Salukis’ 16 first-half turnovers.
SIU interim-coach Adrianne Harlow said the turnovers were the main reason the lead was unreachable.
“Obviously, the turnovers were a major issue, especially in the first half,” she said. “We settled down a little bit more in the second half and really made some runs at them. Had we (cut down on the turnovers), we would have put a lot of pressure on them.”
The Salukis ended the night with 26 turnovers, which led to 25 Bradley points.
Macklin ended the night with 18 points and 10 assists, tying a career-high she set against Chicago State earlier this season. Freshman center Dyana Pierre and Macklin were the only players with a double-double on the night.
Macklin said she was surprised she accomplished the feat.
“Oh shoot, I didn’t even know that,” she said. “That’s pretty exciting. I got to keep my teammates involved, and if I get them involved they keep me in my routine of working hard and playing hard.”
Macklin continued her routine in the Salukis’ Sunday matchup against Northern Iowa.
The Salukis started with a 13-6 lead over the Panthers in the game’s first five minutes thanks to a hot Macklin start. She scored five of the Salukis’ 11 initial points and ended the first half with 15.
Defensive rebounding was a Saluki issue, as the Panthers grabbed five offensive boards in the first half alone. The rebounding fueled SIU’s shooters as they went on a early 14-4 run.
Harlow has said hot shooters fuel other shooters, and that was the case for Macklin as she found her range from beyond the arc and hit three of her four shots in first half.
It took the Panthers’ six-year senior Jacqui Kalin, the Missouri Valley Conference’s leading scorer, 15 minutes to score her first points on the night. She finished with 15 points, and was instrumental in the Panther’s first half offense with four assists.
Despite not playing in Friday’s game, sophomore center Alexus Patterson produced for the Salukis in the second half as she scored all six of her points in the second half and helped the SIU keep the Panthers’ lead within 7 points until the final game’s five minutes.
Harlow said she was impressed with Patterson’s play.
“It was really hard for her to play in the last game because they play all guards,” Harlow said. “I really couldn’t put her in. I guess we should have played her in the first half (on Sunday) and when she got in. She went hard. She didn’t have an attitude about it, and she went and did her thing.
Panthers freshman guard Hannah Schonhardt responded late with five consecutive points to help Northern Iowa build a 10-point lead with less than five minutes left in the game, but the Salukis couldn’t recover from the deficit.
SIU freshman guard Rishonda Napier said with the tournament approaching, it’s time for the team to step up.
“Our coach told us that it’s time to grow up,” she said. “We’ve got a team of freshmen and sophomores, and people say, ‘Oh, they are young, they are learning.’ Whether we are freshmen and sophomores or juniors and seniors, we are basketball players. When a play needs to be made, we need to make them.”
The two losses make it seven straight at home. It also makes it their 11th straight loss under Harlow, which secures the worst record in the MVC for SIU. They will attempt to improve their record in their final two games before the MVC Tournament Thursday and Saturday against Drake and Creighton.