EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE women's basketball picked up a team-best 15 points from redshirt senior Lauren White and 12 more from Donshel Beck in the Cougars' exhibition contest Friday against UMSL at the Vadalabene Center.
UMSL converted four free throws in the final 25 seconds to defeat SIUE 58-55.
SIUE now looks forwards to its regular-season opener Saturday, Nov. 11, at Nebraska of the Big Ten Conference. SIUE's home opener is at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17 against Air Force.
"It was a see-saw game against UMSL, and we had a great lead (47-39) in the third quarter, but we couldn't sustain it," SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher said. "You have to keep pushing it and keep attacking the basket. But we let them right back in the game."
UMSL, which led 28-17 midway through the second quarter and 30-28 at half, went on a 7-0 spurt after the Cougars opened their eight-point advantage in the third quarter. The rest of the way went back and forth.
The Tritons forged in front 54-51 with 3:02 remaining before White brought the Cougars back. She hit a layup with 1:12 remaining to cut UMSL's lead to 54-53. Then she sank two free throws with 35.5 seconds to play, giving SIUE a 55-54 advantage.
However, UMSL scored the game's final four points. Jordan Fletcher made two foul shots with 24.6 left, and teammate Arielle Jackson connected on a pair of free throws with 15.3 seconds to go.
Fletcher's 17 points paced UMSL. Jackson added 12 points, while Alex LaPorta pitched in 13 points and 10 rebounds.
SIUE made 21 of 61 shots, but were 1 of 14 from beyond the arc. UMSL hit 19 of 45 shots, including 2 of 10 from 3-point range.
"We're a better offensive team than we showed tonight," Buscher said. "We will be better shooting the ball."
White said she foresees the Cougars improving daily.
"I definitely want to make this season count, and we have a good group of players," she said. "We are very deep. What I want to do is do what I can to help our team win."
"We are going to be a good club this year, but we have a lot of work to do," Buscher said. "We have to drop in some more shots."