Morehead State escaped with a 73-67 Ohio Valley Conference victory over the SIUE women’s basketball team in front of 1,776 energized fans on Education Day at the Vadalabene Center.
“You can’t turn the ball over that much and turnovers are something that has been crippling us in our last three games,” SIUE coach Paula Buscher said. “Our team plays so hard, but those 22 turnovers were way too many and they put a lot of pressure on us.”
Morehead State scored 27 points off SIUE’s turnovers and erased a double-digit deficit in the second half. SIUE led 44-28 with 6:27 remaining in the third quarter, but Morehead State mounted a comeback. The Eagles first went on an 8-0 run to cut into the Cougars’ lead. Later in the quarter and continuing early in the fourth, Morehead State went on a 13-0 spree to turn a six-point deficit into a 61-54 advantage with 6:10 remaining.
“We were pretty confident at halftime,” said SIUE’s Allie Troeckler, the Cougars’ scoring leader with 14 points. “But we weren’t as focused as we need to be in the second half.”
The first half belonged to the Cougars, and they gave young fans from six area schools plenty to cheer about on the Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery-sponsored event. SIUE led 35-26 against a Morehead State team averaging 81.5 points per game.
“I thought we did a great job defensively the first half,” Buscher said. “We should be able to sustain that defensive intensity for 40 minutes, but we didn’t do that.”
SIUE’s Jay’Nee Alston contributed 12 points to the cause and teammate Alex Akuen scored a career-best 11 points and added five rebounds. Alston led the way with six rebounds.
Miranda Crockett’s 24 points and eight rebounds were best for Morehead State.
SIUE, halfway through its conference schedule, remains at home Saturday against OVC foe Eastern Kentucky. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.