Beck scored a game-best 23 points and snared 10 rebounds, while White matched her career-high scoring output with 20
points. The Cougars improved to 2-1 and defeated the Billikens for the 12th time in 20 meetings. SLU fell to 2-3.
“It’s a good team win for us, and it was really enjoyable the way we played with so much intensity,” SIUE head coach Paula Buscher said. “There was great energy in the Vadalabene Center.”
Beck and White supplied much of it in helping the Cougars overcome a pair of 12-point deficits in the first half. SIUE sliced SLU’s lead to 41-37 by half and grabbed a 44-43 advantage on a Beck free throw with 6:27 remaining in the third quarter. The Cougars led 58-53 going into the fourth quarter.
“This is a big-time win for us. It’s huge,” said Beck, a senior from St. Louis. “We had a great team effort, great team defense and great team rebounding.”
White, a redshirt senior from Edwardsville, added: “The atmosphere and the crowd (928 fans) made it an energetic place and got us going. It was definitely a statement win. We’d like to establish some dominance now.”
Nakiah Bell contributed 16 points, thanks mainly to four 3-pointers, and the Cougars outrebounded the taller Billikens 45-38.
“Early in the game, they (Billikens) dictated the tempo, but then we stepped up and made some great defensive stops,” Buscher said. “This team we beat tonight is a very good team, and they have some players who are tough to guard.”
SLU made 11 of its first 16 shots in building a 25-14 first quarter advantage before the Cougars toughened their defense, Buscher said.
“I give our players a lot of credit because they defended hard when they needed to do it,” she said. “Sydney Bauman did a good job for us (six points and eight rebounds), and Nakiah also stepped up and hit some big baskets. We got locked in more after the first quarter and had a gritty performance.”
Beck said, “It was a mixture of offense and defense that turned it around for us. We got some stops, and then we started making shots.”
White noted, “Donnie went on a run herself. Once she gets going, we get going.”
The Cougars next have another rivalry game Monday when they play at SIU Carbondale in a 6 p.m. tipoff.