The Salukis have given up 161 points during the weekend’s two games, resulting in their 12th-straight game against Missouri Valley Conference opponents.
SIU’s first 81-74 loss came against Missouri State (14-13, 6-9) in Springfield, Mo. The Salukis (4-21, 1-13) kept the final score within 10 points for the third time in their last four games.
They battled the Lady Bears all night thanks to Saluki freshman center Dyana Pierre, who posted a career-high 18 points and snagged 15 rebounds on the night. Junior forward Jordyn Courier added 10 points and two blocks.
“It is just one or two things every time that we just have to finish,” interim-coach Adrianne Harlow said. “It’s unfortunate. They really did play hard, and I want for them to win and to be rewarded for what they are doing.”
In the end, SIU’s performance was not enough as the Lady Bears grabbed a late two-possession lead with less than three minutes left in the game.
Harlow said the team’s overaggressive play was its downfall.
“We were trying to force a little bit too much instead of sticking with what we had been doing,” she said. “When we had the pace going our way, we were doing great. When it slowed down a little, that hurt us.”
Saturday’s game was not nearly as close as the MVC No. 1 team Wichita State (19-8, 13-2) outscored the Salukis 80-55.
The Salukis started slow against the Shockers and could not overcome their 11-3 run through the game’s first six minutes. Wichita held the Salukis to just 32 percent shooting in the first half and just 38.9 percent on the night.
The Shockers got off to a fast start and continued the trend as they shot 55.2 percent on the night.
The Salukis were silent from beyond the 3-point line as they shot only six 3-pointers on the night. The Shockers made 41.7 percent from beyond the arc including senior Darice Fountaine, who connected on four 3-pointers of her own. She went on to score a career-high 17 points, leading all Shockers in scoring on Wichita State’s senior night.
Harlow expressed her appreciation of what having senior leadership can provide.
“You see what happens when you have a senior-laden team that has been through it,” she said. “They weren’t backing down at all.”
Despite the lack of Saluki seniors, the team’s youth showed promise as sophomore guard Cartaesha Macklin led the Salukis with her 22 points. Courier had just 8 points on the night, which ended her four-game streak with double-digit scoring.
The two losses contribute to the team’s 12 consecutive losses, with their last win coming against Drake on Jan. 5. The loss to Wichita State makes the Salukis still winless in games with arena attendance of more than 1,000.
The SIU’s women’s basketball team will face Bradley University Friday in Carbondale. The Braves outscored the Salukis by 42 points and won 90-48 when the teams met Feb. 2 in Peoria.
Matt Ferguson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 533-3611 ext. 282.