Thornton’s first start helps lead EIU to fifth win in a row


Han Byer

Forward, Taris Thornton (25) attempts to shoot the ball against SIUE Forward, Madison Webb (32). The Panthers won 88-72 on Thursday night.

Kate Stevens, Assistant Sports Editor

The Eastern women’s basketball team has won their fifth game in a row as they defeated SIUE 88-79 at home Thursday evening.

The Panthers and the Cougars were neck and neck during the first half, but the Panthers cruised right past them in the second half of the game.

The team as whole played a solid game as the team’s chemistry showed in the win, especially in the second half.

Near the end of the third quarter, EIU went on a 12-point run and had their largest lead of the game with a 16-point lead.

Coach Matt Bollant said he was happy with his team’s offensive performance during the game, especially in the second half.

“We played well offensively, scored 88 points with 20 in every quarter,” said Bollant. “I thought we rebounded in the second half a lot better and that was big and we guarded better. We held in the 12 (points) in that third quarter. Proud of our team, we found a way when maybe we weren’t at our best.”

The Panthers ended the game shooting 48.4% from the field and had 42 points in the paint.

With senior forward Morgan Litwiller out for the game, sophomore forward Taris Thornton made her first start as a Panther and was recognized as the player of the game with 16 points, six total rebounds, and three steals.

Thornton had a strong showing in her first start and was happy with how it went.

“It was very exciting,” Thornton said. “I just felt like I needed to step up, and you know Morgan’s out, one of our best players, so I just felt like I needed to step up and help my team and get the points that Morgan does.”

Senior guard Lariah Washington had a strong showing alongside Thornton as she recorded 21 points, six total rebounds, and six assists.

Guard, Lariah Washington (22), attempts to shoot the ball while being pushed out of bounds by SIUE Guard, Molly Sheehan (14). The Panthers won 88-79 on Thursday night. (Han Byer)

Sophomore guard Miah Monahan had a team high of three three-pointers and she had eight assists and five steals which helped EIU immensely.

The Panthers had a tough opponent in SIUE’s Ajulu Thatha who recorded 32 points and 12 total rebounds while also forcing 14 fouls on EIU.

Bollant said Thatha was a tough player to keep contained and that they need to work on getting better defensively.

“I thought we did a poor job on Thatha and obviously we let her drive and gave her 19 free throws and you’ve got to adjust,” Bollant said. “We needed to do a better job of keeping her from getting touches.”

He was proud of the team for getting the win, but they are focused on a big game coming up Saturday with Little Rock who is also undefeated in conference and also on a five game win streak.

“We have a great opponent coming here Saturday,” Bollant said. “So we’ll enjoy this tonight and then two 5-0 teams on Saturday should be a great one.”

Washington said that as the wins give them confidence, they have to keep up the good work because there is a lot of season left to go.

“We just can’t get comfortable,” Washington said. “We have a lot of games left, but this is just a good start to have and will give us a lot of confidence going into these next few games.”

EIU has its biggest test of the season as they go up against the Ohio Valley Conference newcomers in Little Rock as they battle for first place in the conference Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Lantz Arena.


Kate Stevens can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]