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January 14, 2006

Collins lifts Eagles past Cougars in thriller

@Southern Indiana (11-8, 3-5 GLVC): 70
SIU Edwardsville (7-8, 1-6 GLVC): 69

Keisha Collins

EVANSVILLE, Ind.Freshman point guard Keisha Collins (South Holland, Illinois) scored seven of her 14 points in the final 1:30 of the game, including a bucket with less than four seconds to play, to lift the University of Southern Indiana women's basketball team to a 70-69 victory over Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Saturday afternoon at the Physical Activities Center.

Collins gave the Screaming Eagles (11-8, 3-5 GLVC) a brief lead with a three-pointer at the 1:29 mark. However, a 4-0 run during the next minute put the Cougars up by three with 32 seconds remaining in the game.

After SIUE's sophomore guard Whitney Sykes's free throws gave the Cougars the 69-66 cushion, Collins went coast-to-coast for a layup that drew the Eagles to within a point with 27 seconds to play.

Following an SIUE timeout, the Eagles' defensive pressure forced the Cougars into a turnover that gave the Eagles possession of the ball and a chance to win the game. Junior guard Katie Thiesenhusen (Muskego, Wisconsin), who finished with 11 points, five rebounds, and four steals, gave the Eagles the opportunity as she stole the ball from Sykes.

USI forced the Cougars into 24 turnovers, including a stretch in the second period that saw SIUE give the ball up on seven straight possessions without taking a shot.

With 10.8 seconds remaining in the game, USI got the ball into senior forward Ashley Green (Otterbein, Indiana) on an inbounds play. Green, however, could not get an open shot and was forced to pass the ball out to Collins, who drove the paint and pulled up for the short-range jumper that gave the Eagles the lead with 3.9 seconds showing on the clock.

Ashley Green

Green drew a lot of attention in the closing seconds due to her career-best 18 points. She also finished with six rebounds, six assists, and five steals.

USI also got 11 points and a career-best seven rebounds out of junior forward/center Sarah Buldtman (Metropolis, Illinois), who came off the bench to post her second double-figure scoring day of the season.

Sykes led SIUE (7-8, 1-6 GLVC) with 17 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, while sophomore guard Amy Austin chipped in 15 points and five rebounds.

USI returns to action Thursday when it travels to Springfield, Missouri, to take on No. 4 Drury University at 5:45 p.m. It will be the first meeting between the Eagles and Panthers, who lead the GLVC with a perfect 7-0 mark in conference play.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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