EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Second chances are often important as SIUE women's basketball proved Wednesday night in a 60-59 victory over SIU Carbondale at the Vadalabene Center.
SIUE turned 19 offensive rebounds into 19 second-chance points for its first victory of the season.
"I thought the biggest difference tonight was our toughness," said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher. "We did a great job on the offensive end. Give our players credit for attacking the rim and going to get rebounds."
Donshel Beck went 4 of 5 in the final period and finished with a team-high 18 points. Gwen Adams came off the bench for 11 points. SIUE shot 30.3 percent from the field and outrebounded the Salukis 47-37 led by 10 rebounds from Sydney Bauman.
"I thought Donshel made some great choices," said Buscher. "She got to the line and hit some shots."
The lead changed just five times but the game was close for most of the contest. The Salukis, 2-2, hit nine three-pointers and held a seven-point lead with 5:09 left in the third period. Buscher said the previous three regular season contests SIUE might have dropped their heads when their opponents forged ahead, but that wasn't the case tonight.
"When Carbondale went on a run, I was proud our team stuck with it and continued to battle," said Buscher. "You saw of lot of belief tonight with each other. These are games you have to grind out and win."
Beck pulled SIUE to within one point at 45-44 just 18 seconds into the final period. The Cougars and Salukis answered each other offensively with four tie scores until 1:32 to play in the game when Adams scored a bucket in the paint and added the natural three-point play with a free throw.
Beck added a basket with 1:05 to play to extend the lead to 59-52. SIU Carbondale's Kylie Giebelhausen hit her fifth three-pointer of the game with 33 seconds left.
Lauren White was then fouled with 27 seconds left and hit one shot. The Salukis missed a three-pointer in the waning seconds but picked up a layup from Kim Nebo, who led all scorers with 19 points, with 4.4 seconds left.
Buscher called a timeout to advance the ball to midcourt, and on the inbounds SIUE was able to run out the clock.
"The win is great for our team and our University, but I was proud of how we played," added Buscher. "Even when things don't go well, you play the game the right way."