BELLEVILLE — With frustrations mounting following a third straight loss Wednesday, Southwestern Illinois women's basketball coach Mike Juenger did something he says he had never done before.
Juenger used the 'e' word.
"How would I describe that game. It was embarrassing,'' Juenger said following the Blue Storm's 68-48 loss to Wabash Valley. "Wabash Valley is a very good basketball team and Zach (Loll) is a great coach. You saw his kids play hard the entire game. They wanted it more than we did.
"Now, I know we're injured. But that's no excuse for not playing hard. The last 10 minutes, the effort wasn't there and we stopped playing hard. I don't know if that's ever happened to one my teams before.''
The Warriors -- led by the inside duo of 6-foot, 3-inch Desiree Rhodes and 6-2, 250-pound Andriana Moore -- took command at the 10-minute mark of the first half.
Sophomore guard Rashwanda Shamell scored twice and when Paige Rust nailed a 3-pointer, the Warriors held a six-point lead.
Wabash Valley led 23-16 at halftime then continued to build on its advantage for much of the second half.
The loss is the third in a row for SWIC (10-4), with all four losses coming in Great Rivers Athletic Conference play.
SWIC also proved to be its own worst enemy. The Blue Storm was guilty of 21 turnovers and made just 11 of their 38 two-point field goal attempts.
"And how many of those were unforced or careless turnovers? Things like dribbling the ball off your foot and other careless errors. We're tired and we're out of shape and again that's my fault,'' Juenger said. "We've got some kids hurt and if you're so injured to where you're not going to run at practice, you're not going to play much.
"This isn't high school anymore.''
With sophomore Tyshee Towner scoring seven of her 16 points, the Warriors' lead grew to 17 points early in the second half before the Blue Storm gave the large crowd something to cheer about.
Seeing limited playing time because of an injured finger, sophomore Erika McCaster made a 3-pointer, Taylor Poindexter made a free throw and Breana Baker scored on a short jumper to get SWIC back to within 11 points
The Blue Storm then had two chances to cut the lead further, but committed a pair of turnovers.
Rhodes and Towner then scored seven of the next nine points to put the game away for the Warriors.
Freshman Laura Litchfield led SWIC with 11 points, while Baker and McCaster added nine each.
Towner paced Wabash Valley with 16 points and Moore chipped in with 15.