Despite a strong first half, the women’s basketball team was overcome in the last quarter of their game against Xavier University on Sunday.
Due to a missed pass from Xavier that SIUE stole, sophomore guard Sofie Lowis from Springfield, Illinois, was able to score the first basket of the game completely unopposed by Xavier. Fellow sophomore guard Molly Sheehan from Hinsdale, Illinois, followed this with a strong 3. Right before the second minute of the first quarter was up, Lowis scored another basket off the backboard.
Xavier attempted to toughen up after this first loss and gained a few baskets back. At 5:54, freshman forward Destine Duckworth scored two points at the foul line, and at 5:20, senior forward Ajulu Thatha scored one as well.
A minute later, Thatha scored a 3 for the Cougars, but Xavier followed up with a basket of their own, bringing the score to 15-8.
After a few more Xavier baskets and a shot at the foul line for SIUE, the first quarter ended with a score of 16-12.
The first minute and 15 seconds of the second quarter showed Xavier was ready to fight back. They scored a basket in the first 20 seconds, their defense forced SIUE to wait out the shot timer and scored another point at the foul line.
Junior forward Madison Webb got SIUE points at the foul line as well, and the score was 17-15 at 8:35. However, due to a foul on SIUE after Xavier got a basket, Xavier got a point at the foul line. The score was 17-18 and Xavier had the lead for the first time in the game.
Lowis momentarily brought back SIUE’s lead with a 3 at 7:45, but 20 seconds later, Xavier scored a 3 as well. Thatha and junior forward Olivia Clayton from Checotah, Oklahoma, both had chances to score some points at the foul line, but unfortunately, both missed. However, they were both ready to prove their skill and redeemed themselves later. Thatha scored two points at the line a minute later, and shortly after, Clayton scored a basket due to a bad Xavier pass.
Thanks to those points, SIUE’s lead was regained, and the score was 28-23 at 5:40.
Xavier got a chance at the foul line after this again but failed to score as well. At 4:51, Thatha was given a third chance at the line and got two points.
At 2:42, Thatha showed off her expertise as a senior on the team, scoring two separate baskets off the backboard within 30 seconds.
A rough defense against Thatha as she went for a third basket let her score one last point in the quarter at the foul line. The first half of the game was over. The score was 38-30.
The third quarter started similarly to the second quarter, with Xavier once again steadily gaining points against SIUE. This continued until 7:40, with the score at 38-36. It was at this point that SIUE called their first timeout.
Shortly after the game recommenced, Xavier scored a basket, tying the scores at 38. Thanks to a basket from just in front of the 3-point line, Duckworth gave SIUE their first points of the second half.
An Xavier foul at 6:14 gave SIUE possession, which let Clayton score a basket. Xavier responded with a basket of their own and a 3, bringing the score to 42-43.
Not ready to admit defeat, Duckworth scored a 3, but Xavier kept the energy up with one point on the foul line and a 3. An incredibly strong SIUE defense at 2:13 stopped Xavier from scoring.
Xavier continued scoring for the rest of the third quarter leading to the score flipping to firmly being in their hands. However, the final basket of the quarter was from Lowis.
Just before the final quarter, the score was 49-54. Xavier had the lead, but it was not a big one by any means.
Eager to strengthen their advantage,, Xavier opened the final quarter with a 3. However, SIUE was also eager to catch up, and Duckworth and Webb scored baskets in the second minute. Now, the score was 53-57.
From then until 5:30, Xavier came out in force and built their lead-up. However, baskets from Thatha and senior guard K.K. Rodriguez from St. Louis put a stop to the streak.
With 2:43 remaining in the game, Xavier called a timeout. The score was 57-68. After a minute passed, and Xavier had scored one point on the foul line, SIUE called a timeout.
When the teams got back to the game, Lowis was knocked to the ground after scoring a basket, which gave her a shot on the foul line. SIUE called another timeout at 0:42, and again, Lowis came back from the timeout with a basket.
At 0:16, Sheehan scored two points for SIUE at the foul line, but Xavier’s strong performance earlier in the quarter was too much to overcome, despite another foul line point from Lowis at 0:08.
The game was over and the score ended at 65-73.
The team will be out of town for several weeks for games. They will be competing in the Husky Classic on Dec. 19 and 20 in Seattle. Then, they will return to SIUE for their next game after the date, which is 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 29 against Tennessee Tech University.