Day two of Hoops in the Heartland kicked off with a matchup of No. 1 seed Southern Illinois University (SIU) and No. 8 seed Indiana State University (ISU). Southern Illinois beat Indiana State 77-61 — largely due to SIU’s efficient offense and 19 trips to the free-throw line.
Indiana State won the tip-off to start the game, but the Sycamores were unable to score first. The Salukis struck first with a three-pointer by Abby Brockmeyer — who was recently named the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Player of the Year after averaging 16.4 points per game this season.
After Makenzie Silvey extended SIU’s lead to five with a jumper, Indiana State’s Tonysha Curry cut to the paint and drained a hook shot to trim the Salukis’ lead to three. Not long after, Quierra Love knocked down a pair of free throws, pushing Southern Illinois’ lead back to five. At the end of the quarter, Southern Illinois led 17-14.
In the second quarter, the Salukis struck first when Love stole a pass and made a fast break layup. SIU’s momentum was short-lived as Anna McKendree drained a three-pointer, cutting the Salukis’ lead to two.
Southern Illinois’ defense caused problems for Indiana State in the quarter, as the Salukis forced four turnovers which created seven points for them. Del’Janae Williams, who leads Indiana State by averaging 12.6 points per game, only scored two points in the first half.
While Indiana State’s offense struggled, Southern Illinois jumped out to a 13-point lead while shooting 72% from the floor in the quarter. Walker and Brockmeyer led SIU with six and four points in the quarter, respectively. At halftime, Southern Illinois led 43-32.
In the third quarter, Brockmeyer continued to power Southern Illinois’ offense and scored her 15th point of the game with a second-chance layup. The Salukis dominated the paint thanks to Brockmeyer’s presence by the basket, scoring 10 points close to the basket in the quarter.
Down 14 points, Indiana State responded to Southern Illinois’ efficient offense with a steal and fast break layup by Anna McKendree. At the end of the quarter, Southern Illinois led 59-48.
In the final quarter, play was paused less than a minute in after Indiana State’s Arianna Smith was carried off with a knee injury. After the injury, Indiana State missed two-straight shots until Williams drained her second three-pointer of the game.
Shortly after, Silvey made a highlight play when she sunk a tough layup and converted a three-point opportunity, extending Southern Illinois’ lead to 15. While SIU earned 18 points at the free throw line, ISU’s free throw struggles continued as the Sycamores shot just 43% from the line in the game.
Southern Illinois was led to its 77-61 victory by its efficient offense that shot 47% from the floor while scoring 42 points in the paint. Walker and Brockmeyer powered the team’s offense in the paint, scoring 20 and 18 points, respectively.
Indiana State was doomed by allowing Southern Illinois to grab 14 offensive rebounds, creating 13 second-chance points. ISU also committed 21 personal fouls, which gifted the Salukis 19 trips to the free throw line where they knocked down 18 shots.
The Salukis will go on to face the winner of No. 4 Illinois State University and No. 5 Loyola March 11 at 2:30 p.m. The game is set to be broadcast on ESPN+.