MOREHEAD, Ky. – SIUE women's basketball improved to 4-0 in Ohio Valley Conference play Saturday, its best-ever start to OVC play, with a 66-51 road victory at Morehead State.
This closes out a six-game road trip for the Cougars. SIUE, 7-8 overall, returns to the Vadalabene Center Wednesday for a 7 p.m. contest against Belmont.
SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher said starting 4-0 in OVC play is huge.
"I want our players to enjoy this, but when we get on that bus and get back to campus, that is going to be in our rear view mirror," she said. "The start is great and I am proud of our play, but it is how you are playing every single game and every week because this season is a long haul. Right now, we're playing well, but we have to keep it up."
Sydney Bauman led the SIUE offense in scoring for the first time in her collegiate career. The junior scored 12 points and added eight rebounds.
Bauman was matched up defensively against Morehead State's Tierra McGowan, who came into the game averaging a double-double of 13.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. McGowan was held to six points and nine rebounds.
"I think I talked to them about how strong of a rebounding team they are," said Buscher. "For Sydney, it was a personal challenge."
As a team, SIUE turned the tables on Morehead State, now 11-6 overall and 2-2 in OVC play, in the rebounding department. Morehead State came into the contest outrebounding its opponents by 13 rebounds per game. SIUE outrebounded Morehead State at Johnson Arena 46-31.
"We had to show a level of toughness," said Buscher. "These guys are a great rebounding team. If we went in there soft, you're not going to win on the road."
"We looked for each other," said Bauman of the Cougar offense. "We weren't selfish. Our inside-outside game was phenomenal. We found the open player when they double-teamed in the post. Cloe (Churchill) definitely benefitted from that."
The Cougars were down by three points after one period. Buscher said the Cougars were at a bit of a stalemate with the Eagles and then Cloe Churchill entered the game.
Churchill knocked down three straight three-pointers to start the second quarter as the Cougars grabbed a 17-13 lead 90 seconds into the second period. SIUE would maintain that four-point lead by halftime at 31-27.
"The one piece with that is she obviously made shots, and I saw our players trying to locate the shooter," said Buscher. "They were moving the ball around and drawing defenders to be able to kick it out to her."
"I just have to be confident in my shot," added Churchill.
Miranda Crockett and Darianne Seward led the Morehead State offense with 15 and 13 points, respectively. Morehead State shot 29.7 percent in the second half (11-37) and never regained the lead from the Cougars in the second half.