EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher saw some encouraging signs in an Ohio Valley Valley Conference women's basketball game that went to the wire Sunday afternoon.
Murray State outlasted the Cougars 84-77 at the Vadalabene Center in a game that featured seven lead changes and was tied six times. The Racers improved to 12-6 overall and 4-1 in the OVC. SIUE slipped to 5-13 and 1-4.
"It was a great college basketball game, and both teams played hard," Buscher said. "Late in the game, we needed to get a stop, and we couldn't quite do it. But we played better overall and shot the ball better."
White, a junior redshirt guard from Edwardsville, tallied a team-high 19 points. Beck contributed 18 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 27 seconds remaining. Bauman had career bests in 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Bell pitched in 14 points.
"It's definitely the best game I've had," said Bauman, a 6-foot, 3-inch sophomore center from Glen Ellyn. "I looked to score and was more aggressive."
Buscher added, "Sydney played well. She's a force on both ends of the court."
The Cougars had to force things after trailing 21-9 early on to the hot-shooting Racers. SIUE overcame Murray State's 26-point first quarter and forged ahead 43-38 by halftime. The Racers re-ignited their offense in the second half.
Ke'Shunan James spurred them with 23 points and 12 rebounds. She sank four free throws in the final 16 seconds to ensure Murray State's win.
"She's really a good player and a post player who can play outside," Buscher said.
SIUE made 28 of 59 shots, including 5 of 16 from three-point land. The Cougars hit 16 of 24 free throws and outrebounded Murray State 37-27. The Racers made 30 of 60 shots, going 13 from 30 on 3-pointers.
"I don't fault our effort. It was pretty good," Buscher said. "We just weren't as sharp as we need to be in closing out things toward the end of the game."
"I think the way we came back from that deficit in the first quarter shows that we have a lot of heart and grit," Bauman added.
The Cougars remain at home Wednesday when they welcome OVC foe Southeast Missouri in a 7 p.m. start. SIUE then plays Jan. 21 at UT Martin.