SIUE women’s basketball fought back from 16 points down, but Southeast Missouri prevailed late in a 63-58 road loss for the Cougars at the Show Me Center.
“We allowed them to be the aggressors,” said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher. “We didn’t take care of business from tip.”
Both teams are now 9-9 overall and 4-3 in the Ohio Valley Conference.
The Cougars were down 20-9 after the first period despite hitting a put-back jumper by Alek Akuen as time expired.
Southeast Missouri bumped its lead to 16 points midway through the second quarter behind Tesia Thompson, who scored 13 of her game-high 22 points in the first half.
SIUE would score the final eight points of the second quarter, bolstered by another buzzer beater. The Cougars were down 33-26 at halftime after a 30-foot, banked three-pointer by Nakiah Bell.
It was all about second chances for the Cougars, as they turned 21 offensive rebounds into 19 second-chance points.
“That’s where I thought our advantage was,” said Buscher. “That’s why I was screaming all game long get the ball in the low post.”
The Cougars out-rebounded the Redhawks 40-32.
“It was a toughness mentality that you had to go get the ball,” Buscher said.
SIUE made a complete comeback midway through the fourth quarter. Jay’nee Alston’s two free throws with 4:28 left gave the Cougars their first lead since early in the opening period.
Southeast Missouri answered just six seconds later with a three-pointer by Carrie Shephard, who scored three treys and all 10 of her points in the fourth period. SIUE tied the game on a layup by Bauman with 3:28 left, but another Shephard three-pointers gave the Redhawks the lead for the rest of the contest.
Two free throws with six seconds left by Alston, who joined Jones in double digits with 10 points, made it a one-possession game, but SEMO’s Thompson put the contest out of reach with a pair of free throws of her own with 3.5 seconds left.
SIUE next heads to Tennessee-Martin Saturday for a 1 p.m. contest.