EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Southeast Missouri spoiled SIUE's opener in Ohio Valley Conference women's basketball action Thursday at the Vadalabene Center.
The Redhawks used a late run to defeat the Cougars 62-52 and improve to 6-6. SIUE, which dropped to 5-7, made 19 of 62 shots (31 percent) and committed a season-high 26 turnovers.
"We had some moments and segments where we did the little things good, but we also had moments where we had a lack of focus," SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher said. "We have to own that individually."
Yet the Cougars, who trailed most of the game, including 24-19 at halftime, closed the Redhawks' gap to 50-49 with 3:24 remaining. Then Southeast Missouri scored the next 10 points over a 2.5-minute stretch to put the game out of reach.
"When you have a low-scoring grind game like this one, a big (point) spread like that can mean a lot," Buscher said. "It's just moments like that which can make a difference."
Nakiah Bell and Allie Troeckler tried to be difference-makers for the Cougars. Bell pitched in a team-high 14 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter when the Cougars went ahead 39-38. Troeckler added 11 points, nine of them in the third quarter when the Redhawks were tagged for a pair of unsportsmanlike technical fouls.
"We have to stay aggressive all the time," said Bell, a senior guard from St. Louis. "Sometime we weren't as aggressive at seeing the open person as we needed to be."
Buscher pointed out, "We had some momentum going in the third quarter, but then there was another momentum shift."
The Cougars' turnovers played a big part in hampering their comeback effort, Buscher said.
"Before the game, we talked about keeping the turnovers to 12 or less," said Buscher, noting that SIUE was averaging 14 turnovers a game. "But we made too many tonight, and SEMO scored 27 points off our turnovers. You are putting yourself in a tough positions offensively when you do that."
Tesia Thompson's 22 points powered SEMO, which ended a four-game losing streak against the Cougars at SIUE. The Redhawks lead the series 22-19. They hit 21 of 47 shots, though they were only 3 of 12 on 3-pointers and 17 of 29 from the free throw line.
SIUE connected on 3 of 19 treys and was 11 for 16 from the foul line.
"I thought we had some misses with some good shots," Buscher said. "We just have to finish better."
Next up for SIUE is some road work. They Cougars play Eastern Illinois in Charleston at 1 p.m. Saturday, then travel to Tennessee Tech (Jan. 10) and Jacksonville State (Jan. 12). After that, SIUE returns home to face Austin Peay (Jan. 17) and Murray State (Jan. 19).