Buscher reaches 300 wins in front of packed Vadalabene Center crowd

Senior guard Elina Berzina makes a steal Thursday, during the Cougars' 65-58 win over Tennessee Technical University in the Vadalabene Center.

Women’s basketball Head Coach Paula Buscher led her team to victory for the 300th time as a head coach Thursday night.

“It means I’ve been coaching a long time, but what it really means is that I’ve had a lot of great players play for me, and I think that’s the fun thing,” Buscher said.

Her 300th win came at the Cougars’ 65-58 victory against Tennessee Technical University in the Vadalabene Center in front of a packed arena.

Senior guard Donshel Beck led the team with 19 points and said she is excited for her coach’s accomplishment.

“It’s just amazing that we get to be a part of this milestone,” Beck said.

Behind Beck was redshirt-senior guard Lauren White with 13 points. She said she’s really proud of her coach and that the win was monumental for her.

“She has a good group this year, so I think we can continue to give her more wins and help her reach that next mile marker,” White said.

Before coming to SIUE, Buscher spent 12 seasons at Bradley University, where she won 167 of her 300 games. She has now been head coach for the Cougars for six seasons.

Although she has had a great coaching career, she really credits the players for her accomplishments.

“I always think it’s just about [keeping] the unit that’s out there working hard together,” Buscher said.

The win came on the Annual Field Trip day, where local elementary students join the Cougars in the VC to watch a game. The record-breaking crowd’s official attendance was 3,875 in the 4,000-capacity arena.

White said the team was able to feed off the kids’ excitement.

“When they aren’t there, we have to really give energy to ourselves and hype ourselves up, but the kids came out … so we were able to feed off of them,” White said.

The Cougars started off the game strong, but fell a little short in the fourth quarter. Tennessee Tech outscored them 25-17, but were unable to stage the comeback they were attempting.

Beck and White led the team in scoring and were followed by senior forward Gwen Adams with nine points and senior guard Elina Berzina with eight. White also added 9 rebounds and assists.

With the win, SIUE remained second in the Ohio Valley Conference and improved their record to 12-10 overall and 9-2 in conference.

The Cougars’ next match is at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3 in the Vadalabene Center against the No. 3 Jacksonville State University. Buscher said the Gamecocks will be a tough team because they are gunning for SIUE’s No. 2 spot.

“Jackosnville State is right there one [rank] underneath us. We need to make sure that we take care of home court … that’s going to be huge for us,” Buscher said.

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