COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – SIUE women's basketball raced out to a 14-0 lead Saturday and defeated Air Force 76-55 at Clune Arena.
Jessie Wendt hit a game-high four three-pointers and was named to the Air Force Classic All-Tournament team after scoring 21 points against the Falcons, now 1-6. Wendt averaged 22.5 points per game for the weekend.
"It was nice to give off to quick start," said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher. "Offensively, we attacked the basket and got to the foul line. But the biggest thing was our defense."
SIUE held the Falcons to 34.9 percent shooting (22-63) and won the battle of the boards 41-33. The Cougars also converted 20 of 29 free throw attempts.
The Cougars shot a season-high 50 percent for the game. CoCo Moore led the SIUE backcourt with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Allyssa Decker, Alexis Chappelle, and Tierny Austin added nine points each. Decker added a season-best 11 rebounds.
"This was a really good win for us," said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher. "I was proud of our focus tonight, and we showed some toughness as well. That's what we're looking for right now."
The Cougars won the opening tip and went directly to the basket as Moore scored on a layup five seconds into the game. Wendt put the Cougars up by five points 25 seconds later with the first of her three-pointers.
After the quick start, SIUE didn't hold back in the first half. The lead extended out to 20 points with six minutes to play on a jumper by Miranda Brandt. Wendt picked up the last bucket of the half that put the Cougars ahead 42-19 at halftime.
"We showed another level of toughness tonight," Buscher said. "Air Force made their run and came at us in the second half, but we did a good job of stepping up and stopping their momentum."
Cherae Medina helped push Air Force in the second half as she scored 16 of her team-high 19 points in the second half. That included five three-pointers. Missy Byrd added 12 points off the bench for the Falcons.
"We needed this win, and our players feel good about it," said Buscher. "It's good to see them working hard and having success from it. It's always going to be tough on the road, but it also gives us a lot of time to bond together as a team. We have to keep preparing for the start of OVC play."
With regular season tournament play now complete, the Cougars begin a three-game road trip that begins next Saturday at IPFW. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
MVP – Fallon Lewis, Wyoming
Cherae Medina, Air Force
Holly Johnson, North Dakota State
Jessie Wendt, SIUE
Kayla Woodward, Wyoming