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Lady Sycamores Complete Comeback

CARBONDALE, Ill. – The Queens are back.

Tamara Lee scored 17 points, Ty Battle added another 12 and the Queens of the Comeback made their return to the hardwood as Indiana State rallied for a 61-58 win at Southern Illinois Sunday afternoon in Missouri Valley Conference play.

The win marked the first conference victory for Indiana State (7-6, 1-1) on the young conference season while the Sycamores ended a nine-game home winning streak for Southern Illinois (8-5, 1-1).

“Our kids have done a good job playing on the road all year long,” Indiana State Head Coach Vicki Hall said. “I am just very proud of them because this is a tough swing.”

The victory is just the second win over Southern Illinois in the last 10 tries, including last year’s Missouri Valley Tournament contest that saw a 16-point Sycamore lead evaporate into a 69-67 loss.

This time, it was a Saluki lead that would evaporate.

Indiana State trailed by as much as nine late in the third quarter but matched a season-best +10 rebounding margin in the win. And despite ISU’s 5-1 record this year in games decided by 10 or fewer points, this one wasn’t always guaranteed.

In fact, Southern Illinois went through a stretch of over 22 minutes without relinquishing the lead. On four separate occasions, ISU cut the Saluki lead to one point but seemingly couldn’t get over the hump until Ashli O’Neal drove into the paint for a layup with 2:37 remaining.

The lead would change hands twice more before the Sycamores would get on top for good, this time thanks to a Battle layup for the 58-57 advantage. Lee, whose halfcourt shot as the third period ended banked in one of her trio of 3-pointers, would hit both her free throws with nine seconds remaining to seal the win.

Despite a timeout and nine seconds to go, Indiana State’s defense only allowed one SIU layup that rolled around and out of the rim as the final second ticked off the clock. That defense limited the Salukis – who shot 40 percent for the game – to just 4 of 14 made baskets (28.6 percent) in the final quarter.

And Credit the aggressive play by the Sycamore post players as they grabbed 43 rebounds – the most since the team’s double overtime win at Grand Canyon over Thanksgiving weekend.

That aggressive play on the glass was led by Kierra Isaiah’s six rebounds, one of seven Sycamores with at least three rebounds in the game.

“We had 43 rebounds and that is phenomenal,” Hall said. “We talked about how important that was for us before the game.”

Southern Illinois was led by Nicole Martin’s 26 points while Kristen Nelson added 13 and Makenzie Silvey scored 10.

Indiana State returns to the Wabash Valley to host Illinois State at the Hulman Center on Friday, Jan. 11.


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Post-Game Quotes

Indiana State Head Coach Vicki Hall

Opening thoughts:

Our kids have done a good job playing on the road all year long. I am just very proud of them because this is a tough swing. I was looking at statistics and I saw that we haven’t beaten Missouri State since 2013-14 and we’ve only beat Southern Illinois one time since 2013-14. So this is huge for us. It is huge for our program and it is showing our kids that we can play and that we can compete. When we compete, good things happen.

On the rebounding:

We had 43 rebounds and that is phenomenal. We talked about how important that was for us before the game. That and also making sure we didn’t give up a ton of 3s. Our goal was to allow only four 3-pointers (which they had) – now we didn’t anticipate Nicole Martin scoring 26 points but I’ll take it. We won and that is good.

On Kierra Isaiah:

Kierra has played extremely hard. She has done a great job at practice. She has done a great job, Ty Battle has done a great job, Regan [Wentland] has done a great job. All of our kids.

Everybody stepped up and took responsibility for their minutes and owned them.

On Tamara Lee and her half-court shot:

No, I was not expecting that, or her 3-pointer before that which was a bank shot. But that was what our night was – it was a tough one. We didn’t shoot the ball really well but instead of getting down on ourselves, we still were persistent and we persevered. That was huge for us.

On Ty Battle:

Ty is really long. There was a lot of contact in the paint and I told her you just have to go score an and-1. She did a good job, as did Kierra Isaiah.

On the first conference win:

We have been preaching the last couple of days of paying attention to the details. We didn’t do that at Missouri State. So in this game, continue to pay attention to our details. We had a goal of only having 16 turnovers and finished with one over. They really tried to do a lot of the keys that we set for them.

Story Courtesy:  Patrick Walsh, WBB Contact, Indiana State University

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