DeLAND, Fla. – SIUE women's basketball closed a double-digit gap in the fourth quarter Monday, but Bethune-Cookman held on for an 83-78 victory over the Cougars at the Hatter Classic.
SIUE's Donshel Beck was named to the All-Tournament team after scoring 13 points and adding eight rebounds against Bethune-Cookman.
Bethune-Cookman improved to 4-7 while the Cougars dropped to 3-9. SIUE will play its final nonconference game of the regular season Friday with a 1 p.m. contest against in-state rival Illinois State at the Vadalabene Center.
"The biggest difference was our defense in the first half," said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher. "We've got to fight harder defensively."
The game started with a high-scoring pace. Bethune-Cookman led 31-28 after one period. The Wildcats went on to shoot 58 percent from the field in the first half.
"We saw a little bit better defense in the second half, but I thought we gave up too much in the first half," said Buscher.
SIUE countered with a strong inside and outside game. Nakiah Bell tied her season high with 18 points, all on three-pointers. Gwen Adams provided the inside play with her first double-double of the season, scoring a team-high 19 points and tying her career high with 13 rebounds.
The Cougars were down by as much as 12 in the game and 10 in the fourth period alone. SIUE went on a 14-4 run late in the fourth period to tie the game 78-78 on a three-point by Bell with 1:10 left in regulation.
Kanesha Battle answered with a three-pointer that put the Wildcats ahead for good. Two free throws by Bethune-Cookman's Taylor Houston with 11 seconds left sealed the game.
Angel Golden led the Wildcats' offensive attack with 21 points. Houston followed with 17. Kailyn Williams scored 16 on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, and Battled added 14.
"We had fight late in the game, but that's what I expect from our team," said Buscher.