By: Steve Maves
The Southern Illinois Salukis fell to the Drake Bulldogs 71-64 on Saturday in the regular season finale and final home game of the year.
The game started out very sloppy for the Salukis and the Bulldogs as the first quarter ended with Drake leading 12-9. Southern shot just 3 of 19 from the field and were unable to really get anything clicking offensively. Drake wasn’t really any better in the first quarter as they committed 8 turnovers and shot 6 of 17 from the field.
In the second quarter things started getting better for both teams as Drake outscored SIU 23-19 on the quarter, but even after a half of sub-par play the Salukis found themselves down only 7 at the break.
SIU Senior Dyana Pierre (0) battles Drake’s Lizzy Wendell (3)
on the opening tip in her final game at SIU Arena.
In the first half Southern shot just 11-37 from the field including 3-15 from three-point land and with early foul trouble from senior Dyana Pierre SIU had no answer for Drake in the post. Drake scored 22 first half points in the paint compared to just 10 for Southern.
In the second half Drake came out quick and was able to build on their lead, but SIU was not going down without a fight and every time Drake made a run the Salukis were able to do the same but were never get over that hump to get the lead back.
In the 4th quarter SIU was down eight with 8:45 left and with a quick 7-0 run they were within one point, but were never able to get that close again as after a Drake timeout the Bulldogs took all the momentum away from the Salukis.
SIU was forced to foul sending Drake to the foul line where they were money down the stretch extending their lead and pulling out the 71-64 in.
After the game the 4 seniors were recognized for their outstanding careers and involvement to make the program better.
Azia Washington a native of Lee’s Summit, Mo (Blue Springs HS)
Blair Stephenson a native of St. Louis, Mo (Cardinal Ritter HS/ Lake Land CC)
Dyana Pierre a native of Port St. Lucie, Florida (Lincoln Park Academy HS)
Cartaesha Macklin a native of Mayo, Florida (Lafayette HS)
Even though I only had the chance to watch these women play for one season it was an honor and a lot of fun to watch the leading scorer at SIU play and watch how well they played all year and I can’t wait to see how they do in the MVC Tournament and seeing the talent they have coming back it will be a great group again.
Next Games (MVC Tournament, Moline, IL)
Drake will play either Evansville or Illinois State on Friday March 11th at 6 pm
SIU will play Loyola on Friday March 11th at 2:30 pm