EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Marie Carpenter hit her final four free throws Saturday as Eastern Kentucky held on for a 59-54 victory over SIUE in women's basketball at the Vadalabene Center.
SIUE had pulled to within a point at 55-54 with 30 seconds left on a three-pointer by Miranda Brandt, but free throws from Carpenter with 12.2 seconds and 0.6 seconds sealed the victory for EKU, who improved to 8-5 overall and 2-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference
"We did have a chance late because our defense was solid enough," said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher.
The Cougars held Eastern Kentucky to 35.6 percent shooting, including 6 of 18 from Carpenter who led all players with 20 points.
Buscher said Austin is a complete player.
"We give her the toughest defensive assignments," said Buscher. "She can shoot the three. She can attack the basket and has great athleticism. And I think she's a tremendous rebounder as well."
SIUE had set the pace early with five blocks from Raven Warford, but the Cougars couldn't convert on the offensive end in the opening 20 minutes.
"I didn't think we played with the level of energy we needed in the first half," said Buscher.
SIUE held Carpenter to six points in the first half. EKU's Pilar Walker had 10 in the first 20 minutes and finished with 12 overall. The Lady Colonels held a 27-19 lead at halftime.
EKU never pushed its lead into double digits. The Cougars outscored the Lady Colonels in the second-half 35-32 but were only able to pull within one point on Brandt's three-pointers.
"You have to step up and play a 40-minute game, and I don't think we stepped up the way we needed," Buscher said.
SIUE is scheduled to play its next game Monday against Morehead State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Vadalabene Center.