The Racers won their fifth straight game Saturday 67-55 over Southern Illinois. The win was also the first for the Racers in 19 games against the Salukis.
Senior guard Mariah Robinson led the Racers with 23 points, four rebounds and four assists.Freshman forward Kelsey Dirks also made her mark, recording her first double-double of the season.
Dirks scored 12 points, had 10 rebounds and had three blocks.
“It’s a very fast-paced game.” Dirks said. “I feel like we’re doing great and getting better as the season progresses. I know that the coaches have been on me from the start for going after every rebound and playing hard and posting up hard. That’s what I’m trying to do for every game.”
Statistically, Dirks has steadily improved with each game she has played.
“Kelsey works extremely hard,” said Head Coach Rob Cross. “And one thing she does for us is she alters a lot of shots. She has great length and athletic ability. She’s an outstanding rebounder and very effective low-post player.”
The Racers made a clear effort to take care of the ball, only turning it over 12 times.
The team finished with 13 steals and forced 20 turnovers from Southern Illinois.
The powerful defensive performance from the Racers held the Salukis to just 36 percent shooting from the field.
Free throw shooting declined greatly against Southern Illinois, with the Racers trading in their season average of more than 75 for 53 percent.
With only three non-conference games left on the schedule, the Racers are taking strides to prepare for tough OVC play.
“We’re in a pretty good place right now,” Cross said. “We’re certainly no work of art. We’ve got a lot of things to fix as do most teams at this time of year. We’re still not as disciplined as we would like to be defensively. We’re doing a pretty good job offensively, but we still need to work on getting the ball in the basket.”
The Racers’ next game will be at noon on Dec. 16 at the CFSB Center against Alabama A&M. Their first OVC game is against Eastern Kentucky at 1 p.m. on Dec. 31 at the CFSB Center.
Story by: Carly Besser, Staff writer