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EKU Tops Cougars 75-63

Lauren White
Lauren White

RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky used a 16-4 run in the second period Thursday to push past SIUE women's basketball 75-63 at Alumni Coliseum.

Both teams are now 5-10. EKU improves to 2-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference while SIUE is even at 1-1.

SIUE continued to show its strength at the free throw line, hitting 20 of 22 from the charity stripe. The Cougars lead the Ohio Valley Conference in free throws made.

"We attacked the basket well," said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher. "We got to the free throw line, but I didn't think on the offensive end that we were patient."

The Cougars also came into the game as the No. 1 team in the OVC in three-point field goal percentage at 37.4 percent but were held to one three-pointer in nine attempts.

Lauren White led SIUE's offensive attack with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field. Gwen Adams added 11 points, including 9 of 10 shots from the free throw line. Elina Berzina set a career high with 10 points by hitting 3 of 4 shots from the field and connecting on all four of her free throw attempts.

SIUE led the game in the first period after coming back from a seven-point deficit. The Cougars outscored the Colonels 15-3 in the final 6:25 of the opening period.

EKU, however, pushed back by taking advantage of SIUE turnovers. The Colonels scored 10 of their 22 points in the second period off SIUE turnovers to take a 38-32 lead into halftime. The 16-4 run started with 8:04 to play in the third quarter on a three-pointer by Abby Wright.

"I didn't think our toughness level was where it needed to be," said Buscher. "I didn't like our defensive intensity, and I think that made a big difference in the game."

Wright led the charge for Eastern Kentucky with 16 points off the bench. She was one of four players in double figures as Alexus Cooper finished with 14, Shavontae Naylor nabbed 13 and Jalen O'Bannon added 10.

Buscher said she will look to look to improve team communication and aggressiveness moving forward. The Cougars will hope to rebound from their first conference loss when they travel to Morehead State for a 1 p.m. CT contest Saturday.

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