EDWARDSVILLE – Ajulu Thatha turned in her sixth double-double of the season and the Cougars had three players score in double-figures as SIUE went on to down Lindenwood 74-63 on Saturday night at First Community Arena. The Cougars took the first four points in the contest and never looked back, holding their lead for the entire game.
SIUE improves to 4-13 overall and 3-3 in Ohio Valley Conference play. Lindenwood falls to 1-16 and 0-6 in the league.
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"Lindenwood makes the teams they play have to grind for the win," Head Coach Samantha Quigley Smith said. "Winning the rebounding battle, getting second opportunities, and forcing 21 turnovers was a big part of our success tonight."
The Cougars forced 21 turnovers in the contest while shooting a season-high 52 percent in the game. SIUE scored 42 of its 74 points in the paint and were scoreless from behind the arc. The Cougars made up for their perimeter offense by shooting 20-24 at the free-throw line.
"I thought we were very balanced from the start," added Smith. "I thought that our twelve three-pointers were decent shots. They were inside-out for the most part. Sharing the basketball and playing unselfish basketball will allow us to do some really great things."
SIUE had three players finish in double-figures, led by Thatha with 22. She was perfect from the floor, shooting 10-10 in the contest while going 2-2 at the free-throw line. She also collected 13 of the Cougars' 36 rebounds.
SIUE turned in 16 assists in the contest, led by sophomore guard Molly Sheehan. Sheehan's eight assists marked a new career high.
"She demands the ball and that's been our game plan," Molly Sheehan said. "I'm constantly thinking: Get Ju the ball. It's great to get assists, but it's better when Ju is finishing them."
Sheehan also scored in double-digits with 17. She was 3-8 from the field and was 11-12 from the line. Sheehan's conversions at the line set a career best in free-throws made.
"The three wasn't falling and we knew we could take advantage of their on-ball defense to get to the line," said Sheehan. "It's good to get the foul and take advantage of free shots."
"It's great to play with a lead," said Thatha. "Playing with a lead is our goal. It brings our team's energy to a high level."
SIUE continues its conference schedule with a meeting against Morehead State on Thursday, Jan. 19. First tip is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN+.