SIUE's Wendt scores 23 points in exhibition win over Lindenwood

News-DemocratNovember 5, 2013 

— Southern Illinois Uiversity Edwardsville used a 17-0 run midway through the second half to collect an 85-63 triumph over the Lindenwood Lions on Tuesday in women's basketball exhibition play at the Vadalabene Center.

Jessie Wendt scored seven of her game-high 23 points during the run. Valerie Finnin added 19 points off the bench on 8-of-11 shooting.

"Jessie did a nice job," said SIUE coach Paula Buscher. "She and Val need to let it fly (on three-pointers) because they're very good shooters, and they work hard on it. Those shots relieved us a little bit from what we needed to do defensively."

Lindenwood, fresh off a 70-55 win over SIU Carbondale in a road exhibition game three days ago, picked up 14 points from Dru Haerling and 11 from Marissa Lehnig.

SIUE's defense held Lindenwood to 31.3 percent (20-64) shooting while the Cougars connected on an impressive 56.6 percent (30-53) from the field.

"I was pleased with our effort," said Buscher. "One thing we demand and the players demand of themselves is that consistent effort for 40 minutes. I thought you saw that tonight."

SIUE showed its youth movement at the opening tip by starting one junior (Allyssa Decker), three sophomores (Wendt, CoCo Moore, and Raven Warford), and one freshman (Alexis Chappelle).

"We're so young," Buscher said. "You see how we do some really nice things, but then get a little out of control at times. I think that's just our youth showing, and it's something we need to keep working on."

The Cougars had as much as a 14-point lead late in the first half. SIUE used a balanced attack with nine different players scoring in the opening 20 minutes.

"Coming out of halftime I was a little disappointed because we let them go on a run," said Buscher. "But late in the game, I thought we settled down a little bit and took better care of the basketball."

Lindenwood rallied to take the lead 49-48 with 10:52 left on a three-point play by point guard Jenny Rocha. Kassidy Gengenbacher hit two free throws with 8:54 left for another one-point lead at 53-52.

Wendt got the Cougars started on their 17-0 run with a three-pointer. Nearly four minutes later, SIUE pushed the lead to 16 points on another layup by Wendt.

"Our players did a good job responding after Lindenwood took the lead, and that's what we're looking for," said Buscher. "Even though I talk about us being young, that was a sign of us maturing and getting better. They took the momentum from the game, but we stepped up and that was a huge part of the game for us."

SIUE opens the regular season Sunday with a 2 p.m. game at Missouri.

NOTES: Freshman Micah Jones grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds as SIUE outrebounded the Lions 47-29. ... Decker scored just three points as a starter but led all players with six assists. ... SIUE shot 62.1 percent in the second half, including 5-7 (71.4 percent) from three-point range.

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