Junior A’Queen Hayes set career highs with 26 points and 11 rebounds to lead all players in the Eastern Kentucky University women’s basketball 62-60 loss to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Thursday night at McBrayer Arena.

Hayes put away four from the charity stripe to close out the third quarter, sending EKU (4-8, 1-2 OVC) into the fourth with a 49-40 advantage. The Cougars (6-8, 3-0 OVC) responded to open the fourth on a 7-1 run to draw within three, 50-47.

SIUE continued to make attempts to cut into the Colonel lead in the fourth quarter, but EKU continued to find an answer to push the lead back out. Eastern Kentucky held the advantage, 59-58, when SIUE’s Gwen Adams hit a pair of fatal free throws with 27 ticks remaining to swing the lead in favor of the Cougars, 60-59. Hayes drew the foul at the other end to stand at the stripe, going 1-of-2 to tie the contest.

The Cougars pulled down the defensive rebound with :13 seconds on the clock. Jay’Nee Alston found Zaria Whitlock underneath with just :04 in regulation. Whitlock found the net, giving SIUE the game.

Bria Bass (16) and Joya Smith (11) rounded out the Colonels in double-figures.

Donshel Beck led SIUE with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

The teams took turns exchanging points during the first half, but the Cougars went into the locker room with a 32-30 advantage and drew first blood of the second half. A pair of jumpers from Hayes sparked a 10-2 third quarter run to tilt the score back in favor of the Colonels, 40-36. A Smith field goal capped the run. EKU outscored SIUE 19-8 in the third.

Eastern will be back in action at home on Saturday as they welcome in Eastern Illinois. Tip is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.

— www.EKUSports.com —

Morgan Romans

Assistant Director, EKUSports Communications

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