EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE rallied in the second half against Jacksonville State, but came up short 68-61 on Senior Day Saturday in an Ohio Valley Conference women's basketball game at the Vadalabene Center.
The Cougars fought back from a pair of seven-point deficits in the second half to grab a 54-51 lead with 3:45 remaining. However, the Gamecocks then used a 15-2 spree to shoot in front 66-56 with 21 seconds to play and hold off the Cougars.
"We're pretty much frustrated with the results of the game," SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher said, "but I'm proud of our kids. They fought hard in this game and did that all year."
While Jacksonville State improved to 15-14 overall and finished 9-9 in the OVC, SIUE dropped to 13-16 and 8-10. The Cougars split two league games with the Gamecocks.
"It was a battle all the way, and we kept grinding," Buscher said. "They (Gamecocks) hit a couple of big three-pointers, and I don't know if the ball always bounced our way."
Bauman led the way against Jacksonville State with 13 points and 10 rebounds for another double-double performance. She also blocked three shots, giving the career blocks leader 200 for her career.
"I was so blessed to play there, and there are so many lessons I learned," Bauman said.
Micah Jones pitched in 11 points and four rebounds. She finished her SIUE career with 995 points and lauded her teammates for their gritty play this season.
"We played our hearts out, and we didn't give up," Jones said. "I think playing here meant more to me than I can express in words."
Bell connected on a trio of treys for nine points and Alston added five points, including a three-pointer to snap a 51-51 tie.
"I was blessed to have an opportunity to play here and with great teammates," said Bell, a transfer from Iowa State.
Alston, who came from Independence, Mo. Community College, said: "I was a transfer (to SIUE), but I was blessed to have great teammates, and they welcomed me here."
Buscher pointed out, "We have high-character kids and the biggest thing I appreciate about them is how they represented our team."
Sophomore Christen King collected 10 points, eight in the fourth quarter when the Cougars made a run at Jacksonville State. Teammate Allie Troeckler, another sophomore, collected eight points, six assists and five rebounds.
Destiny Elliott of Jacksonville State led all scorers with 21 points, including 11 of them during the Gamecocks' 15-2 spree late in the game. The Cougars trailed 66-56 with 21 seconds to play, then cut it to 66-61 thanks to five quick points from Mikia Keith, but Jacksonville State refused to relinquish the lead.
"We would have liked to have won more games, but sometimes things don't always work out the way you plan them," Buscher said.
SIUE made 23 of 58 shots, including 5 of 17 from three-point land. The Cougars sank 10 of 13 free throws but were outrebounded 41-30. Jacksonville State hit on 25 of 58 shots, 4 of 14 of them treys, and converted 14 of 16 foul shots.
Jacksonville State led at half 28-25, though neither team led by more than four points in the first 20 minutes. The see-saw half featured 10 lead changes and was tied three times.