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SIUE Edges UT Martin in OT

Donshel Beck
Donshel Beck

MARTIN, Tenn. – Donshel Beck hit two free throws with 27 seconds left in overtime as SIUE women's basketball collected a 70-68 Ohio Valley Conference victory at UT Martin.

It was SIUE's first win away from the Vadalabene Center since a Dec. 2 win on a neutral court over Utah Valley. SIUE ran its record to 7-13 overall and 3-4 in the OVC. UT Martin dropped to 4-16 overall and 1-6 in the OVC. The win also broke a four-game winning streak in the series for the Skyhawks.

"We've struggled on the road. That's no secret," said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher.

The game nearly had an exciting closure in regulation when SIUE's Nakiah Bell hit a three-pointer with 0.9 seconds left to put the Cougars up 62-59.

"Nakiah hit a huge three at what I thought would have been a perfect time on the clock," said Buscher. "They advanced it, called a nice play, and their kid stepped up."

Ashton Feldhaus, who finished with 18 points, matched Bell with a three-pointer of her own as time expired in regulation. That tied the game 62-62.

"Give our players all the credit for not dropping their heads and stepping up to play overtime," said Buscher.

All of SIUE's offense in overtime came from Beck and Lauren White.

Beck, who posted a double-double of 16 points and 15 rebounds, saved her best for last. After SIUE called a timeout with 40 seconds left, White missed a shot with 30 seconds left only to have Beck grab the rebound and be fouled.

Beck, who hit 10 of 13 free throws for the game, made both of her free throws and later pulled down the rebound on UT Martin's final shot of overtime.

"Huge. It was the difference in the game," said Buscher of Beck's rebounding.

Kendall Spray sparked UT Martin with a game-leading 23 points. UT Martin was strong from three-point range, hitting 12 of 27 from beyond the arc.

White finished as SIUE's leading scorer with 17 points. Sydney Bauman added 10 and fve blocks.

"She (Bauman) stepped up and made some big plays," said Buscher. "We really had a lot of people step in and play well tonight."

Buscher said the statistics which stood out for her was 24 of 28 from the free throw line and 45 rebounds. It was the fourth straight game in which SIUE has outrebounded its opponents by more than 10.

"Our players are sticking with it," said Buscher. "We still make mistakes, but we're moving on to the next play. Our communication is not where I want it to be, but it's getting better. We're buying into how important defense is and especially rebounding because rebounding tonight was huge.

SIUE now gets ready for the Field Trip game at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday against Tennessee State. More than 3,000 area youth will fill the Vadalabene Center.

"This team still has a lot of growth," said Buscher. "We just have to keep buying into the process."

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