CHICAGO — University of Illinois-Chicago had to fend off a late Southern Illinois University Edwardsville charge to defeat the Cougars 68-61 Thursday at UIC Pavilion.
UIC and SIUE women's basketball are both 1-1 overall after the matchup. The Cougars now return to the Vadalabene Center for their home opener Saturday. SIUE faces off against No. 18-ranked Purdue with tip-off set for 7 p.m.
"We have a quick turnaround and need to regroup to get ready for Purdue," said coach Paula Buscher.
SIUE was down by 16 points with 10:46 to play in the game after being down by eight points at halftime. The Cougars pushed to within three points by outscoring the Flames 22-9 over the next 10 minutes of the game. Courtney Kenner hit a pair of free throws with 21 seconds left to make it a one-possession game at 64-61.
UIC's Rachel Story and Megan Wallace each hit a pair of free throws in the waning seconds to dash SIUE's comeback.
Valerie Finnin and Tierny Austin each scored 16 points for the Cougars. Finnin, a junior from Mokena, connected for four three-pointers. Austin, a sophomore from Rockford, bested her career high while shooting 6 of 10 from the field.
UIC guard Taylor Foulks lifted the Flames with seven of the team's 11 three-pointers. Foulks, who hit five three-pointers to help UIC erase an early SIUE lead, finished with a game-high 21 points. Story followed with 17 points on 7-of-23 shooting.
"We took away their penetration in the paint, but they stepped up and knocked down shots," Buscher said. "We hit a tough patch in the game where we were struggling to score, and it carried over to the defensive end. "
SIUE outrebounded UIC 39-37 behind seven boards each from Michaela Herrod and Raven Berry.