In what was one of the more entertaining games of the season thus far, the WIU women's basketball team battled Southeast Missouri on Tuesday night at Western Hall. The Leathernecks won 97-91 on the back of their best offensive performance of the season, and saw a number of incredible performances up and down the roster.
The Leathernecks saw 4 players score better than 14 points on the night, including career high performances from Sam Pryor, Annabel Graettinger and Olivia Kaufmann. Graettinger specifically put up one of the more impressive performances of the year, as she poured in 26 points on a perfect 8-8 mark from the field and 4-4 from three. Kaufmann’s hard driving ability was a big reason she was able to rack up her career-best 30, as she went an incredible 13-18 from the line. Pryor’s big night came on the back of a 5-9 performance from deep, including her first 3 in a row. All three players came up in the clutch with big shots to either keep the Leathernecks ahead or keep them in the game. Contributors such as Danni Nichols with her 14 points and Grace Gilmore with her stat-stuffed line of 9 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds, along with her typical gritty defense, aided the cause in one of the Leathernecks’ most well-rounded performances in 2019.
As a team, the Leathernecks finished with a sparkling 53% mark from the field, a figure that becomes even more impressive when a second quarter that saw them shoot just 37% is taken into account. Their 55% shooting mark from 3 as well is their highest mark on the year against regular season, Division 1 competition. Of the players who played at least 20 minutes in the game, no Leatherneck shot below 50%. It was a masterful performance no matter which angle you look at it from, with every player, bench or starter, seeming fully capable of hitting a shot in a key moment. This may very well be looked back on as a sparkplug moment if the Leathernecks should go on a run the rest of the season.
This was a big win over a good SEMO side who now sits at 6-3 and beat SEC foe Mississippi by 17 points in the contest prior to Tuesday night’s game. WIU moved itself over the .500 mark as well and they now sit at 6-5 heading into a big tournament at Northern Illinois. That tournament is the Compass Challenge, an annual competition held at the NIU Convocation Center that features WIU, Southern Illinois, Eastern Illinois and hosts Northern. WIU’s first matchup in the competition comes Thursday night, with a 4:30 tip set against Southern. The winner of that matchup will move to play the winner of the Eastern-Northern matchup on Friday night.