Women’s basketball team ends season

Panthers fall on Senior Day


Jason Howell

Senior guard Alece Shumpert scored 13 points during the Panthers' Senior Day loss to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville 66-56. Shumpert had 129 points averaging 5.2 per game in 25 games during her senior year.

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

The Eastern women’s basketball team honored seniors Alece Shumpert and Shakita Cox in their final game against SIU Edwardsville on Saturday.

The Panthers fell to the Cougars 56-66 to wrap up their season. With the loss, Eastern falls to 3-25 on the season with a 2-14 record in the Ohio Valley Conference. SIUE finishes up the season with an overall record of 17-12 and 12-4 in the OVC. The Cougars had already punched their ticket to a postseason berth prior to Saturday’s game.

Shumpert led the Panthers offense in their final game with 13 points, one rebound, one assist and one steal. Cox finished up her Eastern career with six points while adding one rebound, one assist and one steal in the game.

Shumpert said the team is now looking forward to next year after the game on Saturday.

“As far as me personally and the other players, they are looking forward to next season, this season was very unfortunate, but positivity is definitely in the air with everyone,” she said.

SIUE took an early 6-0 lead in the game before Shumpert knocked down her first three pointer of the game. The senior three point specialist connected with three, three pointers on the day. Eastern fought their way back to eventually tie the game at nine in the first quarter and took a 13-12 lead into the second quarter after sophomore guard Grace Lennox knocked down a jumper. Lennox had five points, five rebounds and four assists in the game.

The Cougars ran away with the lead in the second quarter opening up with a 12-2 run that was stopped by a layup from freshman Halle Stull at the 4:34 mark of the quarter. The Panthers trailed 24-17, and they ended up trailing 34-25 at the half. SIUE shot 46.7 percent in the second quarter while outscoring the Panthers 22-12.

Shumpert opened up the second half by knocking down a three-pointer that pulled the Panthers within six. Shumpert scored eight of her 13 points in the third quarter and was the only Eastern player to score in the period until the last 31 seconds. The defense kept the Cougars in check in the third quarter holding them to 23.5 percent from the field.

Head coach Debbie Black spoke highly her young team’s ability to fight.

“This team stayed together and that tells you strength and adversity,” she said. “These kids have not stopped fighting. We got blown out some games, but their hearts were in it. They didn’t quit.”

The Panthers trailed 37-45 heading into the fourth quarter after a three pointer from junior Erica Brown who finished the game with 11 points and six rebounds. Eastern pulled five points early in the final quarter after junior guard Phylicia Johnson drained a three to make it 42-47. Johnson scored nine of her 11 points in the fourth quarter, but that wasn’t enough as the Cougars won 66-56.

Black talked about the leadership Shumpert and Cox brought to the team this season.

“They set up a culture that we’re going to start to strive for as soon as we practice in three weeks,” she said. “That’s leadership and that’s what we need even though we finished 3-25. We never broke apart, and I think that says a lot for the program.”


Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]