March 15, 2007
CARBONDALE, Ill. -
The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks returned to the WNIT for the first time since the 1986-87 season, but came up a little short falling to Southern Illinois, 58-50, Thursday night at SIU Arena. The Ladyjacks finish the season 21-12, marking the second consecutive season SFA has recorded at least 20 wins in a season.
It was almost a game within a game in the WNIT opening round contest between Southern Illinois and SFA. If SFA scored a bucket on one end, the Salukis would answer on the other, and when Southern Illinois forced SFA into a turnover, the Ladyjacks would come right back down the floor and take the ball right back. Despite the tug-o-war, SIU gained a minor advantage heading into halftime leading by nine, 34-25.
The Salukis shot 16-of-30 (53 percent) in the first half, but SFA forced its host into 9 first-half turnovers. It was a similar story for SFA, knocking down 39 percent of its shot, but was hurt by 13 miscues.
The Salukis built their advantage to 11 points numerous times in the second half, but senior Charity Egenti and the Ladyjack defense would not let SIU run and hide. Egenti scored 24 points, and the Ladyjacks outrebounded SIU by 11. SFA also forced Southern Illinois into 21 turnovers.
The Ladyjacks picked up the pace offensively in the second half, knocking down 11-of-25 shots (44 percent). SFA cut the lead to five points with 10:05 remaining the game, but that's when the Salukis' Jayme Sweere came to life. Sweere scored 12 consecutive points for SIU to build the lead back to 11 points. Sweere finished the game with a time-high 23 points and 10 rebounds as the Salukis advance to the second round of the WNIT to face Kansas State.
SFA finished the game 41 percent from the floor, while outrebounding Southern Illinois, 37-26. The Salukis were 49 percent from the field, and 24 percent from beyond the arc.
Senior Evelyn Edwards joined Egenti in double figures scoring 10 points and pulling down three rebounds. Freshman Whitney Cormier scored nine points and pulled down five rebounds, while sophomore Natashia Green added five points and pulled down eight rebounds.