EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — The Jacksonville State women's basketball team fell on the road to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville 65-41 on Saturday in battle that determined second-place in the Ohio Valley Conference.
JSU (14-9, 8-4 OVC) remains third in the league standings courtesy of a loss by Morehead State earlier in the day, while the Cougars (13-10, 10-2 OVC) solidified their spot behind Belmont, unbeaten in league play.
Freshman Taylor Hawks led JSU with 12 points, but she was 3-of-10 from the field as the Gamecocks shot just 27.3 percent (15-of-55) overall. The 41 points scored was the lowest since JSU's final non-conference game against Georgia State on Dec. 19.
Freshman Kiana Johnson hit a jumper from just inside the arc to give Jax State a quick 2-0 lead on its first possession, but the Gamecocks struggled to find a rhythm after that. A six-minute scoring drought saw the Cougars grab a 13-4 lead, before Rayven Pearson's bucket just before the end of the quarter made it 13-6 going into the second period.
In the second, SIUE shot 50 percent and outscored JSU 19-11 for a 32-17 halftime advantage. JSU's only spark in the opening 20 minutes came as Morgan Towells came off the bench in the second to score eight of the team's 11 points in the quarter.
The Gamecocks hit their stride in the third hitting 8-of 13 shots. Tasha Magruders' jumper with 4:26 remaining in the period sparked a 10-0 run to pull within three after trailing by as many as 20. After Hawks hit a couple of free throws, senior Ki-Ki Patterson drilled a corner three to make it 41-38 with 2:43 left in the third.
SIUE responded with a 10-0 run of its own to close the quarter, and continued a stifling defense in the fourth as the Gamecocks made just one fourth-quarter bucket and scored just three points over the final 12 minutes of the contest. The 24-point setback matched the Gamecocks' worst loss of the season going back to a 75-51 decision against No. 8 Florida State in early November.
In JSU's four previous double-digit losses, the Gamecocks have bounced back to win all four of the following games this season. Jax State hosts Tennessee Tech at 11:30 a.m. Thursday for "Education Day." Local school children from surround elementary schools will be in attendance.