The women’s basketball team finished their four-game home stand with two conference wins to improve their overall record to 10-9 and their conference record to 7-1.

With the wins against Southeast Missouri State University and University of Tennessee at Martin, the Cougars continued to succeed, winning seven out of their last eight games and placing themselves in second place in the OVC, just one game behind Belmont University.

As with many of their wins this year, the game against SEMO came right down to the wire. SIUE was outscored in every quarter but the fourth and pulled through with the 65-57 win after some crucial shots in the final moments of the game.

“I really liked about the last three and a half or four minutes. I thought we stepped up and played the way that we need to play for the full 40 [minutes],” Head Coach Paula Buscher said in the post-game press conference.

The victory was led in scoring by senior guard Donshel Beck, who had 20 total points and nine in the fourth quarter alone. Beck said she thinks SEMO always aims to play tough against SIUE.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game because they come out, and they want to beat us,” Beck said.

After closely trailing behind the Redhawks most of the game, a loss looked imminent for the Cougars until they took the lead with three minutes left in the game. The fourth quarter ended with SIUE outscoring SEMO 24-11.

Other leading scorers included freshman guard Zaria Whitlock and redshirt senior guard Lauren White with 13 and 11 points, respectively. In the fourth quarter, Whitlock hit five of her nine free throws and a two-point field goal for seven points, and White drained three out of four of her two-pointers and three free throws to get nine.

After the comeback victory against SEMO, the Cougars continued their three-game winning streak with another close win against UT Martin.

With four seconds left and the score tied 70-70, White secured the victory with a three-pointer as the final buzzer went off. White said she credits her teammates for helping her get the game-winning basket, but hopes her team won’t be stuck in that last second situation again.

“Hopefully I won’t have to do it too many more times; we’d like to just kind of ride the games out,” White said in the post-game press conference.

White was the leading scorer in the game with 20 points and seven assists, but she had help from her teammates with junior guard Jay’Nee Alston, freshman guard/forward Allie Troeckler and junior center Sydney Bauman all scoring 10 or more each.

The close victory seemed all too familiar for the Cougars, and Buscher said she expects close games like these against any team in the OVC.

“I don’t think anyone’s going to run away from anybody in this league. Every night there’s teams that are going to be right there with you, and I think the games are going to go down to probably the last three or four minutes, and you’ve got to continue to play,” Buscher said after the SEMO game three days earlier.

After the two conference games, SIUE improved to 7-1 in conference and placed themselves second behind the undefeated Belmont in the OVC.

“We’re taking it one game at a time, and we’re trying to keep learning from our past experiences and take it into the next game and that we just keep going, and our ultimate goal is the OVC championship,” White said.

They will look to continue their success in the coming week with two more conference games on the road against Tennessee State University on Thursday, Jan. 25 and Belmont University Saturday, Jan. 27.

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