SIUE’s women’s basketball  conference season came to an end over break in a close loss against University of Tennessee at Martin on March 2.

The 69-67 loss ended in a near comeback from the Cougars, but the Skyhawks were able to hold on to their lead with two free throws for the final points of the game.

UT Martin moved on to the OVC championship, where they lost to Belmont University in an overtime game. The Cougars finished their  regular season with a 17-14 overall record and a 13-5 conference record.

“I’m so proud of this group. They battled all season long, and I couldn’t be more proud,” Head Coach Paula Buscher said.

The tournament also concluded a few seniors’ OVC careers as Cougars. Redshirt senior guard Lauren White ended hers on a high note, scoring her 1,000th point in the remaining minutes of the game. Senior forward/center Gwen Adams and senior guard Donshel Beck also finished their careers with over 1,000 points.

According to junior guard Jay’Nee Alston, the seniors were leaders both on and off the court.

“I’ve learned a lot from the seniors, and they’ve helped me a lot throughout my time here at SIUE,” Alston said.

Alston led the scoring for the Cougars against UT Martin with a career-high 17 points. She was followed by freshman guard/forward Allie Troeckler with 11, and White and Beck with nine each.

“I’ve had a lot of fun here at SIUE. I met a lot of people, and I love all of them. It was a fun ride this season,” Beck said.

The OVC tournament loss concluded the regular season for SIUE, but it is not the end of their season.

They will participate in the women’s basketball invitational at 7 p.m. tonight in  Conway, Arkansas against the University of Central Arkansas. The 16-team tournament is single elimination, and it will continue throughout the rest of March.

The Cougars have to defeat Arkansas and two more teams before making it to the championship game.

The OVC tournament loss marked the end of SIUE’s sixth season in the conference. They will return for a seventh season in late 2018 to continue battling against their OVC opponents.

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