Missouri Valley Conference women’s teams split six game on opening night, winning both home contests while taking just one of four on the road. Southern Illinois’ Katrina Swingler poured in a career-high 28 points more than double her previous best on 11-for-15 shooting, and led five Salukis in double-figures in an 85-77 season opening win over Saint Louis University. UNI’s K.K. Armstrong and Nicole Clausen combined for 52 points in the Panthers’ 77-73 road win over North Dakota State. Clausen connected on 6-of-7 three-point shots and played all 40 minutes in the win. Drake was a runaway winner in its home opener against Texas State, receiving a balanced effort in a 72-54 win. Ashleigh Brady came off the bench to lead all scorers with 18 points, while Lauren Dybing turned in a 13-point, 11-rebound double-double.
Southern Illinois 85, Saint Louis 77
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois women's basketball team put all five starters in double figures led by sophomore forward Katrina Swingler with 28 points to push past Saint Louis, 85-77, in its season opener Friday in SIU Arena.
The Billikens took a one-point lead into the locker room at the half, 34-33, after the lead changed hands 10 times in the first 20 minutes of play.
The Salukis were up by two, 60-58, with 6:42 left to play before they broke loose on a 13-to-0 run, including eight straight free throws to go up by 15. The team converted nearly 80 percent (25-of-32) of their free throws which helped secure the win.
The offense was spread around, Swingler opening her sophomore season with a career game, surpassing her previous best of 13 points against Central Arkansas last December.
Erica Smith chipped in 16 to go with four boards, three assists, two steals and a block, while freshman Olivia Lett, in her first start as a Saluki, added 14 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Seniors Jasmine Gibson and Kaci Bailey added 11 and 10 points respectively. Bailey was clutch down the stretch to give the Salukis some breathing room.
SIU picked up its second season-opening win in Eikenberg's five years as head coach and just third season opener in the last 12 years.
The Salukis returns to action Nov. 19 when they host Arkansas State for a 7:05 p.m. tip-off in SIU Arena.
UNI 77, North Dakota State 74
FARGO, N.D. The University of Northern Iowa women’s basketball team trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half before rallying for a 77-73 win at North Dakota State in its season opener Friday night at Bison Sports Arena. The Panthers used 72 percent (18-of-25) shooting from the floor to score 53 second-half points.
Nicole Clausen was 9-of-12 from the floor, including 6-of-7 from three-point range on the way to a career-high 27 points. K.K. Armstrong added 25 points and eight assists in her debut for the Panthers, and Alexa Mennen finished with 13 points and seven rebounds for UNI.
NDSU (0-1) held a 43-27 lead with 17 minutes to play, but the Panthers (1-0) chipped away at the Bison lead and took a 56-55 lead with 8:02 to play and never trailed from that point.
The Bison took an early 9-4 lead, but Nicole Clausen knocked down a three at 8:25 to tie the game, 12-12. Clausen and NDSU’s Katie Birkel traded baskets, and Alexa Mennen hit a three with 6:24 left in the half to give UNI its first lead of the game, 17-14.
NDSU scored the next eight points, however, building a 22-17 lead. Clausen ended the Bison run with a three, cutting the Panther deficit to 22-20 with 4:30 on the clock.
The Bison used a free throw from Whitney Trecker and a pair of free throws from Jill Zaruba to build a 25-20 advantage.
Kim Wypiszynski came up with a loose ball and found Indy Uhlenhopp ahead of the pack. The freshman scored on the fast break to bring the score to 25-22. NDSU scored six unanswered points, however, to build a 31-22 lead with 1:22 left in the half.
K.K. Armstrong connected on a layup with 32 seconds left to send UNI into the break trailing 31-24.
Abby Plucker hit a three on NDSU’s first possession of the game to give the Bison a 10-point advantage, 34-24. Clausen answered on UNI’s next trip, however, bringing the score to 34-27.
The Bison went on a 9-0 run over the next 2:30 to build a 43-27 lead with 17:02 to play.
Lizzie Boeck ended the Bison’s run with a three from the top of the key. Armstrong hit a free throw, and Clausen drained a three from the left wing to bring the score to 43-34. On UNI’s next possession, Armstrong drove into the lane and scored to pull the Panthers back within seven, 43-36.
On the next defensive trip, Armstrong collected a long rebound and brought the ball the length of the floor, scoring a layup as she was fouled. She made the bonus, and brought the Panthers within four, 43-39 with 14:30 to play.
NDSU scored on back-to-back possessions to extend its lead to 47-39.
Clausen and Boeck hit threes on consecutive trips to pull the Panthers within two, 47-45 with 12:38 to play. Armstrong tracked down a long rebound on UNI’s next possession, and she knocked down a mid-range jumper on the fast break to tie the game, 47-47 with 12:17 on the clock.
NDSU scored the game’s next six points to take a 53-47 lead. Mennen scored on a jump shot from in the paint to bring it back to a four-point game, 53-49 with 10:16 to play. Armstrong hit a three from the left wing to cut the Bison lead to one, 53-52.
Mennen matched a pair of Birkel free throws with a turn-around jumper in the lane. Mennen found Swanson on the left elbow, and the sophomore connected on the jump shot to give UNI its first lead of the second half, 56-55.
UNI came up with a defensive stop, and Armstrong passed the ball ahead to a streaking Clausen, who found Swanson running on the left side for a layup that put UNI in front, 58-55 with 7:36 to play.
Inger Hodgson connected on a deep three that tied the game, but Clausen answered with a three on the other end to put UNI back in front, 61-58.
Plucker hit a pair of free throws to make it a one-point game, but Mennen answered with a jump shot for UNI.
Bickel hit a jump shot with 5:50 left to cut the Panther lead to 63-62. Mennen gave UNI a two-point lead with a free throw, but a pair of free throws from Trecker tied the game at 64-64 with 4:46 to play.
Clausen scored as she was fouled on a fast break to put the Panthers in front, 67-64 with 3:32 left. Mennen made one of two free throws on UNI’s next possession to make it a two-possession game, 68-64 with 2:53 to play.
Jerri Penley brought it back within two points with a basket for the Bison, but Mennen connected again for UNI to bring the score to 70-66 with 1:41 on the clock. Birkel and Armstrong traded baskets, and NDSU elected to send Armstrong to the line with the Panthers holding a 72-68 lead and 34 seconds on the clock. The freshman made one of two to give UNI a 73-68 lead.
Birkel scored for the Bison, and NDSU sent Armstrong to the line again. She connected on both tries to keep the UNI advantage at five, 75-50 with 24 seconds remaining.
Trecker was fouled as she attempted a three, and she made all three free-throw attempts to bring the Bison within two, 75-73 with 14.8 seconds left.
NDSU sent Clausen to the line with 12.8 seconds left, and she made both tries to seal the win for UNI.
UNI finished 28-of-52 (53.8 percent) from the floor, including 11-of-21 (52.4 percent) from three-point range. The Panthers made 10-of-19 (52.6 percent) free-throw tries. The Bison shot 23-of-56 (41.1 percent) from the floor, including 5-of-18 (27.8 percent) from behind the arc. NDSU was 22-of-26 (84.6 percent) from the free-throw line.
The Panthers return to action on Thursday when they host in-state rival Iowa State at 7:05 p.m.
Drake 72, Texas State 54
DES MOINES, IOWA - Senior guard Ashleigh Brady came off the bench to score a game-high 18 points, powering the Drake women's basketball team to a season-opening 72-54 victory past Texas State Friday night.
Senior guard Lauren Dybing (Bloomington, Minn.) enjoyed her first career double-double for Drake with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Junior forward Monique' Jones (Lee's Summit, Mo.) and junior guard Jordann Plummer (St. Louis, Mo.) added 10 points apiece for Drake.
Brady, a native of Lubbock,Texas, had scored a combined nine points in the last six games to close out the 2007-08 campaign.
Drake limited Texas State to just 32.3 percent shooting from the floor. The Bulldogs also scored 16 points off Texas State turnovers, while collecting nine steals.
Plummer, Dybing and sophomore Kristin Turk (Des Moines, Iowa) had two thefts apiece for Drake. Junior guard Kaniesha Agee (Kansas City, Mo.) dished out a game-high five assists.
A jumper by freshman Amber Wollschlager (Milbank, S.D.) gave Drake a 31-16 lead.
But the Bulldogs would close out the first half, going scoreless for the final 5:29 while missing their last four shots allowing Texas State to pull within 31-23.
Texas State took advantage of cold shooting by Drake to open the second half. The Bobcats outscored Drake, 8-1, to come within 32-31 with 17:46 left in the game.
Brady then hit two straight jumpers to start a string of 12 unanswered points by Drake building the lead back up to 44-31 with 14:15 remaining.
Drake shot 45.7 percent from the floor, making 21 of 46 shots.
The Bulldogs will play at Wisconsin this Thursday (Nov. 20).
Tulane 75, Illinois State 62
NEW ORLEANS The Illinois State women’s basketball team couldn’t overcome an early deficit and lost to Tulane, 75-62, in the first round of the Preseason WNIT Friday night. Maggie Krick and Shala Jackson led a second-half comeback for the Redbirds, but it wasn’t enough for an ISU win. ISU is 0-1 to start the season for the first time since 2006-07.
Krick led the Redbirds with 18 points and added six rebounds and three assists. Krick scored 13 points in the second half after being injured on a screen on the last play of the first half. Kristi Cirone scored 13 points to move past Pat McKinzie for fifth place on the ISU all-time scoring list with 1,495 points. She also had six rebounds and three assists. Jackson added 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists, which were both team-bests.
ISU shot 38.2 percent from the field (26-68) and was just 3-for-7 from the free throw line. Tulane held a 48-39 advantage in rebounds and collected 15 of them on the offensive glass, turning them into 14 second-chance points.
Both sides showed signs of this being this being the first game of the season, combining to miss the first 12 shots of the contest. ISU built a 7-2 lead seven minutes in, but Tulane went on an 11-3 run to take its first lead, 13-10. The Green Wave started to make some mid-range jumpers and free throws and the lead swelled to eight points, 26-18, with five minutes remaining.
A three-pointer by Cirone pulled the Redbirds within four with just under a minute left in the half. Tulane scored twice in the final 30 seconds of the half and led, 36-28, at halftime. ISU was just 12-for-32 from the field in the first half, including 2-for-10 from three-point range.
Jackson had two quick buckets to start the Redbird scoring in the second half. With Tulane up by nine, Krick scored 10-straight points, including three-pointers on consecutive possessions, to pull the Redbirds within three, 43-40.
Tulane built its lead back up to seven points, but the Redbirds came back once again. Jackson hit a short jumper and Amanda Clifton nailed a three from the right side to pull ISU within two, 53-51. Cirone made her first three-pointer of the season at the six-minute mark, which moved her past McKinzie and cut the Green Wave down to one, 55-54.
Cirone’s three-pointer was the last ISU basket for more than four minutes as the ISU comeback stalled. Ashley Langford scored five-straight points, including a three-point play as she was fouled on a layup, to put Tulane ahead, 62-54, with 2:47 left. Megan Valicevic made a desperation three-pointer as the shot clock expired to put Tulane ahead by double-digits for the first time, 66-54. The Green Wave closed out the game with five free throws in the final 28 seconds.
Illinois State will play two games next weekend at in the consolation round of the WNIT. The site and opponents will be determined after the first round is completed Saturday.
SEMO 67, Missouri State 64
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- The Missouri State Lady Bears lifted the lid on the 2008-09 season Friday (Nov. 14) evening with a heartbreaking 67-64 setback to Southeast Missouri State at the Show Me Center, as Rachel Blunt’s 18-foot jumper with 1:06 to play put the Redhawks on top to stay. SEMO rallied from a six-point second-half deficit behind Crysta Glenn’s 19-point, 11-rebound performance to claim the victory.
Glenn scored 13 of her 15 second-half points in the final 9:51, including a big three-pointer that knotted the score with 3:39 to play. Rachel Blunt also posted a strong finish for the Redhawks, knocking down three key jumpers in the final three and-a-half minutes to help SEMO overcome a valiant effort by the Lady Bears, who dropped to 0-1 on the season with the defeat.
Freshman Jaleshia Roberson’s 13 points led three Lady Bears who finished in double figures. Tiffany Coppage tallied 12 points and Maggie Dwyer scored all of her 11 points in the second half. Freshman Casey Garrison chipped in seven points to go along with her team-high nine rebounds.
MSU got off to a solid start, reeling off seven unanswered points to grab a 9-6 advantage after SEMO had jumped out to a 6-2 lead. Freshman Jasmine Malone accounted for the final five points of the run, knocking down a pair of free throws before burying a three-pointer from the left wing at the 16:17 mark.
After SEMO drew even at 9-9, the Lady Bears again pulled ahead by scoring 13 of the next 17 points to build a 22-13 margin. Three-point baskets from Coppage and Roxy Stiles, and seven straight points by Roberson highlighted the run that gave MSU its biggest lead of the contest. SEMO responded by outscoring MSU 24-9 over the final eight minutes of the first half to turn a nine-point deficit into a 37-31 halftime lead. Sonya Daugherty tallied eight of her nine first-half points during the stretch to help the Redhawks take the lead into the locker room.
MSU pulled to within 41-37 four minutes into the second half on Dwyer’s second consecutive basket, but a Lauren Sharpe three-point play pushed the SEMO lead back to seven moments later. The Lady Bears came right back with another offensive spurt, scoring the next 13 points to claim a 50-44 lead with 10:31 left on the clock.
But the Redhawks gradually chipped away, starting with four straight points from Glenn. Key to the comeback was Glenn’s critical trey that tied the game at 57-57 on a possession that saw the Redhawks corral three offensive boards.
The Lady Bears recovered to score five of the next seven points to reclaim a three-point lead with just under three minutes to play, but Blunt was able to grab another offensive rebound off of her own miss and convert the second of her three crucial baskets down the stretch. Glenn then converted a pair of free throws with 1:47 left to put SEMO back on top before MSU’s Lacey Boshe scored in the paint to make it a 64-63 game at the 1:33 mark.
Blunt answered with her biggest shot yet to give the Redhawks the lead for good, and a pair of Daugherty free throws with 0:18 left accounted for the final margin. The Lady Bears had one final chance to pull even, but Garrison’s running 25-foot attempt as the clock expired was off the mark.
Daugherty (15 points), Blunt (12 points) and Sharpe (12 points) also finished in double figures for the Redhawks. SEMO enjoyed a strong advantage on the boards, outrebounding MSU by a 43-33 margin that included 15 offensive boards on the night. The Lady Bears forced 21 Redhawk turnovers, but committed 18 of their own and shot only .375 (21-of-56) from the field for the game and just 6-of-24 (.250) from three-point range.
The Lady Bears will be back in action Wednesday (Nov. 19) when they take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at the Donald W. Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Okla. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Arkansas State 73, Creighton 56
JONESBORO, Ark. -- The Creighton women's basketball team dropped its season-opener, 73-56, on Friday night at Arkansas State.
The Jays fell behind 13-0 and 18-3 in the opening minutes only to use a 19-4 run to knot the score at 22 with 6:53 to play in the first half. However, Creighton would never own the lead in the game. Keyed by the play of freshman Shania Hurst, the Red Wolves closed the half on an 11-3 run and took a 33-25 lead into intermission. Kelsey Woodard had eight points to lead CU in the opening half.
The Jays trailed just 33-27 early in the second half but missed four straight free throws and did not get any closer than five points (37-32) the rest of the way.
Creighton was led offensively by Woodard and Michelle Kaus, who scored 13 points each. Kristina Voss led CU on the glass with nine rebounds, while Megan Neuvirth had six points, eight rebounds and a team-best three steals. The Bluejays shot 18-for-54 (33.3 percent) from the field, 7-for-20 (35.0 percent) from three-point range and 13-of-25 (52 percent) at the line.
Hurst had 18 points and seven rebounds in just 20 minutes during her first career game at ASU. Hurst drained all four attempts from three-point range. Sherina Scott had 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting as well. ASU shot 44.1 percent for the game (26-59), 35.7 percent from downtown (5-14) and 76.2 percent (16-21) from the line in the win.
Creighton returns to the court on Monday when it hosts Nebraska in its home opener. Tip is set for 7:05 pm.
NOTES: Freshman DaNae Moore made her debut with two points and an assist after missing the exhibition season due to injury ...Creighton is now 0-5 in road openers under Jim Flanery ...Arkansas State is the preseason pick to finish first in the Sun Belt West Division after a 20-12 season last year,
including 13-5 in conference play ... ASU went 13-2 at home last year ...This was the first meeting between the schools ...Creighton has opened against a Sun Belt Conference school each of the past three years.