SIUE Rallies Past Tennessee State 66-55

Mikala Hall
Mikala Hall

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – SIUE women's basketball used a pair of fourth-period scoring runs Thursday to power past Tennessee State for a 66-55 road victory at the Gentry Center.

After runs of 10-0 and 9-0 in the fourth period, SIUE improved to 12-14 overall and 7-8 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Tennessee State dropped to 4-23 and 4-11 in the OVC.

The game certainly didn't start the way it finished. Tennessee State jumped out to an 8-0 lead over the first 6.5 minutes of play. SIUE's starting lineup also went 0 for 8 from the field in the opening period.

Enter Mikala Hall, who scored a career-high 11 points for the Cougars.

"We were flat and weren't playing aggressive," said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher. "Hall came in and got trapped the first time. I let her know I didn't think she was being athletic, and from that point on the kid played. She gave us a huge burst when we needed it. Her life got everybody else back going."

Hall grabbed her opportunity in just the way Coach Buscher demands.

"It's a huge win," said Hall. "We needed this to get our energy going."

Buscher also pointed to the play of senior Micah Jones, who came off the bench and scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in just nine minutes of action. Jones now needs 22 points for 1,000 in her career.

"That is amazing. I was extremely happy with her," said Buscher.

The Lady Tigers, led by 14 points from Taylor Roberts, led for more than 29 of the 40 minutes Thursday. SIUE would capitalize on a big fourth period in which it shot 8 of 11 from the field and grabbed the final edge in rebounds 37-36.

"We controlled the boards late in the game," said Buscher. "We started being a little smarter and wiser with how we were playing out zone."

SIUE's bench collected a season-high 52 points. Included in that total was 18 points from redshirt senior guard Nakiah Bell, who had a season-best five three-pointers.

Bell started one of SIUE's fourth-period scoring runs with an uncommon four-point play after being fouled on a made three-pointer with 6:44 left in the game. The Cougars led after her made free throw 50-49 and never trailed afterwards.

SIUE hit 5 of 10 from three-point range and connected on 17 of 18 free throws. Tennessee State shot just 2 of 18 from beyond the arc and managed 5 of 13 from the free throw line.

SIUE now heads across town to Belmont for a Saturday matchup with the OVC pacesetter. Game time is set for 3 p.m.