SIUE women’s basketball team used a pair of fourth-quarter scoring runs to power past Tennessee State for a 66-55 road victory Thursday at the Gentry Center in Nashville, Tenn.
After runs of 10-0 and 9-0 in the fourth period, SIUE improved to 12-14 overall and 7-8 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Tennessee State dropped to 4-23 and 4-11.
The game certainly didn’t start the way it finished. Tennessee State jumped out to an 8-0 lead over the first 6.5 minutes of play. SIUE’s starting lineup went 0 for 8 from the field in the opening period.
Enter Mikala Hall, who scored a career-high 11 points for the Cougars.
“We were flat and weren’t playing aggressive,” said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher. “Hall came in and got trapped the first time. I let her know I didn’t think she was being athletic, and from that point on the kid played. She gave us a huge burst when we needed it. Her life got everybody else back going.”
Buscher also pointed to the play of senior Micah Jones, who came off the bench and scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in nine minutes of action. Jones now needs 22 points for 1,000 in her career.
The Lady Tigers, led by 14 points from Taylor Roberts, led for more than 29 of the 40 minutes Thursday. SIUE would capitalize on a big fourth period in which it shot 8 of 11 from the field and grabbed the final edge in rebounds 37-36.
“We controlled the boards late in the game,” said Buscher. “We started being a little smarter and wiser with how we were playing out zone.”
SIUE’s bench collected a season-high 52 points. Included in that total was 18 points from redshirt senior guard Nakiah Bell, who had a season-best five three-pointers.
Bell started one of SIUE’s fourth-period scoring runs with an uncommon four-point play after being fouled on a made three-pointer with 6:44 left in the game. The Cougars led after Belle made her free throw to put the score at 50-49 and never trailed afterward.
SIUE now heads across town to Belmont for a Saturday match-up with the OVC pacesetter. Game time is set for 3 p.m.