February 04, 20231st2nd3rd4thFinal
Southern Ill.1320152977
Stats at a GlanceVALPOSIU
FG Percentage.310 (13-42) .484 (30-62)
3P FG Percentage.231 (3-13) .286 (6-21)
FT Percentage.783 (18-23) .579 (11-19)
Offensive Rebounds913
Defensive Rebounds2021
Total Rebounds2934
Bench Points1610
PointsEarnest - 13
Jones - 19
Taylor - 19
ReboundsEarnest - 8
Randle - 7
Taylor - 7
AssistsSaunders - 3
Love - 6
StealsSaunders - 2
Jones - 4
BlocksEarnest - 1
Taylor - 5
Beacons Fall at SIU Saturday
Saturday, February 4, 2023
Beacons Fall at SIU Saturday
Leah Earnest drives for two of her team-best 13 points Saturday. (Courtesy SIU Athletics)

The Valpo women’s basketball team was within nine points of host Southern Illinois in MVC action Saturday afternoon in Carbondale, Ill., but the Salukis pulled away over the final 10 minutes for a 77-47 victory.

How It Happened

  • Junior Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) had eight points in the first quarter to help the Beacons stay within striking distance, as Valpo trailed just 13-10 at the end of one period.
  • SIU extended its lead out to 33-18 with 2:26 to play in the second quarter, but Valpo scored the final five points of the half — including a 3-point play from fifth-year Maya Dunson (Dayton, Ohio/Wayne [Loyola]) — to cut the Saluki edge to 33-23 at intermission.
  • Southern Illinois again extended its lead in the third quarter, pushing its edge to as many as 14 points, but Valpo again fought back. The Beacons scored five straight late in the period on consecutive possessions thanks to a 3-pointer by Earnest and a pair of free throws from freshman Ali Saunders (Depauw, Ind./North Harrison), cutting the deficit to seven. The Salukis eventually ended the third period up 48-39 with 10 minutes to play.
  • SIU opened the fourth quarter on an 11-1 run to put the game away, as the Salukis limited Valpo to just one field goal in the final period.

Inside the Game

  • Earnest paced Valpo on Saturday with 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
  • Saunders scored 11 points off the bench, including a career-best seven made free throws, and handed out a trio of assists.
  • Sophomore Katie Beyer (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) had the second-highest scoring game of her Valpo career, going 3-of-4 from the field and 2-of-2 from the foul line for eight points.
  • Valpo shot just 31% from the field on Saturday — its second-worst mark in MVC play to date — and was held to a season-low three made 3-pointers. The Beacons were 18-of-23 from the foul line for their second-highest number of made free throws this season.
  • The Beacons committed 27 turnovers — just one off their season high — and forced just 11 SIU miscues. The Salukis held a 32-2 advantage in points off turnovers and a 44-20 edge in points in the paint.

Next Up

Valpo (4-17, 2-10 MVC) has nearly a full week before its next game, as the Beacons return to the ARC Friday evening to host Drake at 6 p.m. on Heart Health Awareness Night. The game can be seen live on ESPN3.