Not even season-high attendance and a standing ovation could help the SIU women’s basketball team bring home a win Saturday.
The Salukis lost 80-64 to Creighton University at the SIU Arena for the annual Pink Zone game, a branch of the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer initiative. Despite the 1,009 fans dressed in pink attire to support the cause, the Salukis (7-17, 3-10 Missouri Valley Conference) were unable to withstand Creighton’s (13-11, 7-6 MVC) scoring runs.
Freshman center Alexus Patterson, who scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds, said she was disturbed because the team did a good deed for those who struggled with cancer, but lost the game.
“It’s very frustrating, but at the same time, you have to think that you did do something well for someone,” Patterson said.
Freshman guard Cartaesha Macklin led the Salukis with 21 points and six assists, while junior guard Teri Oliver, one of two leading scorers, had a quiet night with only 13 points.
Coach Missy Tiber said she was disappointed in Oliver’s lack of presence during the game.
“When Teri plays good, I’d be the first to say it, but I am very disappointed in Teri today,” Tiber said. “Not just her play, but her on-court body language was poor. It’s not where it needs to be.”
Tiber said Oliver is worn out from the pressures of school and basketball but that mentally she needs to be prepared to compete every night as one of the team’s main factors.
Tiber said she was frustrated with her team’s effort and attitude throughout the game. She said the Bluejays’ drive to win outlasted the Salukis’.
“I’m extremely disappointed that we’ve been a quality defensive team for most of the year and we allowed a team to come on our home court and shoot 53 percent and score 20 above their average,” Tiber said.
Tiber said when she looked at her team before the game, they didn’t seem prepared to play. But Tiber said she knew the game was going to be a mental challenge rather than a physical battle.
“Our radio guy asked me before the game what our key to the game was and I said that I thought today it was going to be our mental effort when we stepped on the court today,” Tiber said. “I just don’t think mentally we were anywhere near where we needed to be.”
During the first half, there were constant momentum swings as both teams traded runs. The Salukis shot 37.5 percent of field goals, 28.6 percent of 3-pointers, hitting two of seven attempts, and they committed 13 turnovers.
The Salukis finished the game shooting 45.8 percent of field goals, making 22 of 48 shots, 40 percent of 3-pointers and 82.4 percent from the charity stripe. SIU committed a total of 23 turnovers.
Despite a tough loss, a woman from Carbondale who is a 20-year breast cancer survivor and who chose to be unnamed, said she appreciates the Salukis’ effort to raise awareness and support the cause for those who battle cancer.
“I think breast cancer awareness is very important in our society today,” she said. “Cancer is fairly dominant in my family, but we manage to stay healthy and get proper treatment. SIU did a great job (with the Pink Out game).”
The Salukis will hit the road to face the top two teams tied for first in the MVC. They will play at Wichita State Friday at 7:05 p.m. and Missouri State on Sunday at 2:05 p.m.