By Steve Maves
The SIU Women’s basketball team finished their exhibition season on Saturday with an impressive win over Kentucky Wesleyan College 96-64 at SIU Arena.
The beginning of the game seemed like a track meet with two very fast teams getting out in transition after every missed basket. The Salukis struggled at the beginning of the contest not getting back on defense and stopping the Panthers in transition, which resulted in easy baskets for Kentucky Wesleyan.
Once the Salukis slowed the game down, it was sophomore Celina VanHyfte that took over and dominated throughout the afternoon scoring 19 points including 11 in the first quarter on 9-13 shooting. VanHyfte also recorded one block and six rebounds two of those were offensive. Junior guard Carlie Corrigan also had a standout performance Saturday tying VanHyfte in points with 19 shooting 7-11 including 5-8 from downtown and adding four assists. VanHyfte and Corrigan are our WIDB Co-Players of the Game selected by Danny Valle (Play-By-Play) and Jeremy Sneed (Color Commentary).
As a team SIU played very well offensively with four players scoring in double figures, the team shot 55.4% from the field, outscored the Panthers 42 to 32 in the paint, grabbed 43 rebounds (14 offensively), and dished out 22 assists.
At halftime SIU was leading 42-38, but when the third quarter started and the teams switched ends of the court it was all SIU in the second half. Kentucky Wesleyan came out of the locker room very flat and SIU took advantage. At one point in the third quarter the Salukis had a 23-4 scoring run thanks in large part to four straight made three points.
A lot of what was keeping the Panthers in the game early was getting back door cuts from the top of the key and having a player wide open in the middle of the lane, but in the second half SIU was ready for most of those plays and forced nine second half turnovers.
After giving up 25 points in the first 10 minutes of the game, SIU allowed only 39 points the rest of the game, while they scored 70 in route to the big victory.
For the Panthers, they were led by junior guard Brittany Wells who finished the game with 14 points on 6-13 from the field, three rebounds and one assist. Also for the Panthers sophomore guard Addie Reimbold finished with 11 points on 4-6 from the field, four rebounds, one assist, and one steal.
“I feel like our kids don’t know how to handle the expectations of being better,” SIU coach Cindy Stein said. “The expectations that they are suppose to come in a blow people out because they are better and I think it makes them tight and I have to find a away, that is my challenge to get them to play loose.”
Coach Stein was talking about how her players come out of the locker room not as ready to play as they should because of the high expectations of the Salukis this season and she has to figure out a away to get them ready to play from the get go.
The Salukis will travel to Chicago for the preseason WNIT next weekend and will play DePaul on Friday November 13th before heading home to face Tennessee-Martin on Wednesday November 25th.