EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - A solid defense went a long way for the SIUE women's basketball team Saturday at the Vadalabene Center.
The Cougars stifled Tennessee Tech 60-49 to win their Ohio Valley Conference opener. SIUE improved to 5-9 overall. Tennessee Tech, which defeated Southeast Missouri 74-63 on Thursday in Cape Girardeau, Mo., fell to 4-11 and 1-1.
"Our team really locked in defensively," SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher said. "We were switching between man-to-man and zone defenses, and we did a good job with them."
The Cougars allowed the fewest points thus far this season. They also held Missouri-St. Louis to 49 points on Dec. 11—and limited Tennessee Tech to 23 of 64 shooting, including 2 of 17 from 3-point land.
"I think we all did well defensively," SIUE center Gwen Adams said. "We locked down on playing good defense and bought into it."
Adams certainly did her part. The 5-foot, 11-inch junior scored a team-best 18 points and snared 13 rebounds. It was the third consecutive game she achieved a double-double in scoring and rebounding.
"I'm just trying to do my best to help the team get wins," Adams said. "It's always good to start off conference play with a win."
Buscher added, "Gwen is a player that has a great basketball IQ, and she has been doing a great job for us. She's really shooting the ball well."
Overall, SIUE made 17 of 57 shots, including 3 of 7 treys. The Cougars sank 23 of 29 free throws and outrebounded the Golden Eagles 44-40.
Tennessee Tech's Yaktavia Hickson, a 30-point scorer against SEMO, was limited to seven points by SIUE's smothering defense. She fouled out with 4:02 remaining.
"Hickson's a great player, but we didn't let her get loose," Buscher said.
SIUE led 30-17 at half and shot ahead 34-19 early in the third quarter. Tennessee Tech got to within 53-47 late in the third quarter before Beck tallied five successive points to make it 58-47 and seal the victory.
The Cougars resume OVC action Jan. 5 at Eastern Kentucky.