Cougars shoot 50 percent, beat Eastern 62-52


Karina Delgado

Freshman Taylor Steele pulls up for a short floater in the Panthers’ 59-50 loss to Jacksonville State in Lantz Arena Feb. 1. Eastern lost to Southern Illinois Edwardsville 62-52 Wednesday night on the road.

JJ Bullock, Assistant Sports Editor


Make it eight losses in a row for the Eastern women’s basketball team after Southern Illinois Edwardsville shot 50 percent from the field in its 62-52 win over the Panthers in Edwardsville.

Something the Panthers have had trouble with all season is their youth against teams that are older and more experienced, and there is no team that has more experience in the OVC than the Cougars. They returned five starters from their team last year, and against the Panthers their seniors made an impact in the game.

A pair of Cougar seniors in Lauren White, who scored a game-high 18 points, and her teammate Donshel Beck, scored 17 points, as Southern Illinois Edwardsville’s offense did just enough to keep the Panthers trailing for most of the game.

“I thought their players knew what to do when and Lauren White in the first half hit a couple of threes,”  Eastern head coach Matt Bollant said. “And Beck just got to the foul line and rebounded and she had six assists. She just did a little bit of everything for them.

Bollant said White and Beck made their biggest impacts in the fourth quarter of the game.

“They stepped up and made plays and kind of willed their team to victory,”Bollant said. “That’s their senior leaders and they made plays when they had to.”

White scored 12 of her 18 points on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the three-point line. Outside of White’s four threes, Southern Illinois Edwardsville made just one other three in the game and finished 5-of-16 from beyond the arc.

Eastern continued its struggles shooting the three-point shot as well, going just 5-of-20.

Neither team came out of the gates playing extremely well, Eastern scored just nine points in the first quarter on 23.5 percent shooting. The Cougars did not fare much better, scoring just 12 points on 36.4 percent shooting.

The win for the Cougars moves their conference record to 11-2 on the season. Their only conference losses have come to undefeated Belmont.

Eastern got a good game from sophomore Jennifer Nehls, who had struggled the last couple of weeks. Nehls scored a team-high 12 points on 6-of-12 shooting and grabbed six rebounds.

“(Nehls) scored inside which was great and found a way to get baskets today,” Bollant said. “She got inside and rebounded in the first half and just played with a lot of energy and she went to the boards on a regular basis which was great.”

Rebounding is something the Panthers have not done particularly well this season, but tonight they got the upper hand on the Cougars 30-28. The Cougars have rarely been outrebounded in conference play this season.

“I just thought we played really aggressively and hard, went to the offensive boards,” Bollant said.

Eastern’s record drops to 1-12 in conference after the loss and they host Austin Peay on Saturday.

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]