Herrod, Cougars Hand UIC First Loss
Nov. 20, 2011
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Michaela Herrod poured in a career-high 25 points Sunday as SIUE women's basketball won the battle of undefeated teams with a 63-57 victory at the Vadalabene Center.
The Cougars improved to 3-0 while the Flames dropped to 3-1. SIUE's homestand came to a close on a positive note. The Cougars now travel to California for a pair of games. SIUE meets Sacramento State Wednesday for a 7:05 p.m. PT game and Pacific for a 4 p.m. PT game Saturday.
SIUE Head Coach Amanda Levens watched her team fall behind for the first time this season, but the Cougars roared back.
"We knew coming in we were going to have to play well and play great team defense," she said.
The Cougars were down 14-7 with 14:47 to play early after a pair of free throws from Jasmine Bailey, who led the Flames with 25 points.
SIUE went on an 8-0 run over the next four minutes of play. SIUE's defense shut down the Flames from the field for nearly 10 minutes in the first half until Emily Kobel hit a three-pointer with 6:24 to play. The Cougars would roll out to a 10-point lead with 2:40 to play on a pair of free throws by freshman Tierny Austin.
UIC would cut the lead to six behind a pair of field goals by Bailey as the teams went into halftime with the Cougars leading 33-27.
Herrod, who finished the game with six rebounds, five steals and four assists, scored 15 of her points in the first half with a variety of jumpers and layups that penetrated the Flames defense.
"She did a great job of taking advantage of some opportunities," said Levens. "I thought her shot selection was good."
UIC was only able to cut the lead to four points in the second half before SIUE worked to build up another double-digit lead. SIUE's defense remained strong down the stretch and denied the Flames a field goal in the final minute of the game.
One of SIUE's keys was its unselfish play. SIUE finished with 22 assists on its 22 field goals.
"They did a great job of sharing the ball," Levens noted.
SIUE also set a new school record for free throws. The Cougars were perfect from the charity stripe in 15 attempts. SIUE's previous best was 13 of 13 from the free throw line during the 1999-2000 season against Bellarmine.
Raven Berry finished with a solid 10 points and eight rebounds. Courtney Kenner dished out seven assists. SIUE shot 40.7 percent from the field while holding the visiting Flames to 37.5 percent shooting.
UIC's Kiara Strickland and Kobel joined Bailey in double digits, scoring 13 and 11 points respectively. SIUE's bench outscored UIC's bench 15-2.
Excited for the third straight victory to open the season, Levens said she'll continue to ask for more from her team in practices and games.
"We need to keep working hard every day. The last couple of years we have struggled with being consistent," she added.