EDWARDSVILLE – Graduate guard KK Rodriguez paced the Cougars offensively and defensively, scoring a career-high 33 points while grabbing a career-best 14 rebounds as SIUE downed Evansville, 91-83 on Sunday afternoon inside First Community Arena. Rodriguez's double-double marked the first of her collegiate career.

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"Her impact today was incredible," Head Coach Samantha Quigley Smith said. "She did a great job of taking care of the ball and sharing it a little more. That's something that we're all getting better at and understanding we have weapons all around us. KK did a great job of that today."

With the win, SIUE captured its first of the season, improving to 1-2. Evansville falls to 0-2.

Rodriguez concluded the contest 11-21 from the field, 1-4 from three-point range, and 10-10 at the free throw line.

"It all started with my teammates," Rodriguez said. "They noticed I got going pretty quick and found different ways to feed me the ball."

Rodriguez tied a career-high in the opening half with seven rebounds before adding eight more in the second half of play, pushing the Cougars to a nine-point lead entering the locker room.

As a team, SIUE opened the first half shooting 49 percent (21-43) while going 4-11 from long range.

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Leading by eight entering the final quarter, Evansville's offense found its stoke and took the lead by a point with just over eight minutes remaining. However, SIUE regrouped and would take an eight-point lead with 2:22 to play, sealing the contest and putting pressure on the Aces.

SIUE finished the game shooting 46 percent (33-72) from the floor while going an impressive 20-23 at the free throw line.

Brianna Wooldridge grabbed seven rebounds in just 13 minutes of play, three of which came on the offensive end. As a team, the Cougars were dominate on the glass, outrebounding Evansville, 51-33 and 16-8 offensively.

"Our team has been talking about the importance of rebounding since we met in June," added Smith. "At the beginning of the season, one of our goals was to be the best rebounding team in the conference. Today was a step in the right direction towards achieving that goal."

Freshman Ava Stoller added 14 points for the Cougars, her third consecutive game in double-figures. The guard shot 5-9 from the field and 4-6 at the free throw line while leading the team with five assists. Sophomore Macy Silvey also collected 14 points, shooting 5-14 from the floor and 2-6 from deep. She also added five rebounds, marking her third consecutive game with five boards.

Defensively, Olivia Clayton led SIUE with three blocks while Halle Smith contributed two. Smith also led the team with three steals.

Evansville was led by Kynidi Mason Striverson's 24 points and nine assists.

SIUE continues its 2023 nonconference slate on the road at Illinois State on Wednesday, Nov. 15. Tipoff is scheduled for 11:00 a.m.

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