CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's defense held Austin Peay to 29 percent shooting Monday in a 54-49 victory at the Dunn Center.
The SIUE women's basketball team improved to 9-10 overall and 3-4 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Austin Peay fell to 5-13 overall and remained winless in league play at 0-6.
"I was really pleased defensively with what we did," said SIUE coach Paula Buscher.
Buscher said she was most pleased with the Cougars' first-half performance. Raven Berry, a Collinsville graduate, picked up her fifth double-double of the season in the first half, scoring all 13 of her points in the opening 20 minutes. Berry also finished with 13 rebounds.
Tierny Austin led the Cougars in scoring with 15 points. She missed her first career double-double by a single rebound.
The Cougars held the Governors to 21 percent shooting in the first half. SIUE's defense put the Cougars up 27-19 at halftime.
"I thought in the first half we did it (played defense) perfectly," said Buscher. "I felt like we stepped up and communicated better tonight."
Austin Peay did not give up on its home court and pushed back against the Cougars. SIUE's 29 turnovers was a major reason for the Austin Peay push that the Governors were able to take a second-half lead before eventually falling to the Cougars.
After a CoCo Moore layup to start the scoring in the second half, SIUE's 10-point lead was cut to two points on a layup by Shira Buley with 14:57 to play.
The Governors' offense picked up its play midway through the half and took a three-point lead on a three-pointer by Meghan Bussabarger with 11:11 left.
Bussabarger would be Austin Peay's leading scorer with 13 points. Alexis Hardaway and Leslie Martinez added 12 each.
Buscher said Austin Peay's rebounding and second chances helped the Governors.
"That allowed them to get going in the second half ," said Buscher. "We have to dominate teams on the boards."
After going nearly four years without recording 50 or more rebounds in a game, the Cougars did it in back-to-back games. After grabbing 52 Saturday at Murray State, the Cougars did it once again Monday. The Cougars, who came into the game leading the OVC in rebound margin, dominated the boards 52-28. SIUE also shot 39 percent from the field Monday.
"We did a great job on the boards," said Buscher.
SIUE's defense came to the rescue late in the game. After Martinez hit a three-pointer with 3:39 to cut the SIUE lead to 50-49, the Cougars would not allow another point. The Governors would miss their final four shots from the field in the game.
"I'm proud of how they stuck with it," Buscher added.