Southern Illinois University Edwardsville women’s basketball nearly erased a 19-point second-half deficit Monday, but took a 71-68 road loss at Jacksonville State.
Candace Morton hit two free throws with 3.7 seconds left for Jacksonville State, now 6-13 overall and 2-4 in the Ohio Valley Conference. SIUE’s last-second shot to tie came up short.
CoCo Moore was SIUE’s leading scorer for the second straight game. She finished with a career-high 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field. The Cougar sophomore also hit 7 of 8 from the free throw line.
“I thought CoCo played an excellent game,” said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher. “She was aggressive. She was attacking the basket. She was coming off screens looking to score.”
The Cougars, 4-13 overall and 1-4 in OVC play, were down by three points (30-27) at halftime. Jacksonville State went on a 14-4 run to start the second half and then built the lead to 19 points (61-42) with 6:51 to play on a 3-pointer by Briana Benson.
SIUE pressured Jacksonville State and scored the next eight points to cut the lead to 11 with 4:32 left. The Gamecocks’ lead was cut further in the next four minutes as the Cougars came within one point (67-66) with 12 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Jessie Wendt.
“I am pleased with how hard we played late in the game,” Buscher said. “I thought late in the game you saw what I believe this team can do.”
Jacksonville State hit its last four free throw attempts, with two each from Benson and Morton, in the final eight seconds.
SIUE shot 45.6 percent from the field (26-57) while Jacksonville State connected on 50 percent (28-56). The Gamecocks took advantage of SIUE’s 17 turnovers with 26 points scored off those turnovers.
“That hurts in tight games. We have to value the ball better,” said Buscher. SIUE had just one turnover in last seven minutes of the game.
SIUE returns home for a 4 p.m. contest Saturday against Murray State.