CHARLESTON, Ill. – Eastern Illinois regained the lead with a late 13-0 run and went on to defeat SIUE women's basketball 71-61 Saturday.
The EIU duo of Katlyn Payne and Sabina Oroszova combined for 48 points against the Cougars, now 5-17 overall and 2-8 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Eastern Illinois improved to 9-12 overall and 4-6 in the OVC, defeating the Cougars at Lantz Arena for the first time in three seasons.
"I feel like we've been doing good things in games," said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher. "We're just not putting together 40 minutes."
SIUE held a 58-56 lead with 4:54 to play in the game on a jumper by CoCo Moore, who led SIUE in scoring with 14 points.
Oroszova hit a pair of free throws at the beginning and at the end of the 13-0 winning run. She finished the game with 23 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocks. Payne hit 6 of 8 shots from three-point range and scored a game-high 25 points.
SIUE battled from a deficit early as EIU jumped out to an 8-0 lead before Miranda Brandt hit SIUE's first basket just more than five minutes into the contest.
The Cougars would cut EIU's lead to as little as one in the first half. Buscher said untimely fouls and untimely offensive rebounds by the Panthers would hurt the Cougars. But it was a late steal by the Panthers near the end of first half that deflated the first-half comeback. SIUE was down by two with a few seconds remaining in the half when Payne stole the ball and hit a three-pointer as the half ended. SIUE was down 36-31 at halftime.
"We have to make sure we tightened some things up," Buscher said.
EIU extended its lead to 11 points (42-31) with back-to-back three-pointers from Jordyn Crunk and Oroszova to start the second half. The Panthers would finish with 10 three-pointers overall.
After Jazmin Hill, who scored a season-high 10 points, hit a three-pointer to cut the EIU lead to eight (42-34), SIUE attacked the basket and scored eight of its next 13 points in the paint. The Cougars would tie the score 47-47 on a bucket by Moore with 14:44 to play.
"We did a good job of attacking the basket," said Buscher. "We just didn't stick to it long enough."
SIUE took its first lead of the second half with 6:31 to play on another layup by Moore. There would be three more ties in the game before Eastern Illinois made its 13-0 run to put the game out of reach.
"It was a one-possession game with three minutes to go," Buscher said. "We had some good possessions. We just have to take care of the little things."
The Cougars return to the Vadalabene Center Monday for their final nonconference game of the season. SIUE welcomes Division I independent NJIT for a 7 p.m. contest.