That was quickly increased via back-to-back steals by Jenaya Abernathy and Charlene Diggs that led to four more points.
Diggs sank both free throws following a technical foul called on the SIU bench with 8:42 left, producing a 62-43 lead.
Salem scored seven straight points in less than a minute to climb back to a 69-60 score with 2:44 remaining, but BSC outscored them 7-2 the rest of the way.
“We ended up taking care of the ball,” Oliver said. “If we start taking care of the ball and taking good shots, we should handle our business. ... We’ve got quality depth — a lot of people who can do a lot of things.”
That comment is borne out by a stat sheet that showed 12 Bluefield State players getting at least one rebound, and 10 Lady Blues who scored.
While no one fouled out, there were 58 fouls called in the sloppy game according to the official book. Salem had 14 steals, part of BSC’s 34 turnovers. The Tigers lost the ball 30 times, but improved on their free-throw shooting in the second period to end 24 for 43.
With 23 points, Diggs easily led all scorers. Shae Mebane added 17 points and 12 rebounds. Charity Harris and Morgan each passed along four assists, and Abernathy had three steals. BSC won the rebounding battle 47 to 36.
For Salem, Inkera Patterson had 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Hill had six steals and 14 points.
The Lady Blues’ last game of the calendar year is Tuesday at home, taking on Alderson-Broaddus College at 5:30 p.m. That will start off a doubleheader, with the men’s teams to follow at about 7:30.
Oliver said, “Now we’ve got to get ready for Tuesday night. It’s a conference game, and it’s an opportunity for us to go into the Christmas break above .500 in the conference.”
Winston-Salem St. 57, WVU-Tech 48
In the other Herb Sims Memorial Classic game on Saturday, the Rams of Winston-Salem State out-rebounded the Lady Bears of WVU-Tech 39 to 28 and forced 24 turnovers to earn a win and also go 2-0 for the weekend.
Somalia McKenney led the Rams in points (15) and rebounds (8) and was among five WSSU players with two steals each. WVU-Tech got 15 points and four assists from Courtney Sturdivant, five steals from Nia Nolan and 11 rebounds from Roche Wimberly.
The Rams led 30-22 at halftime and were 24 for 58 shooting in the game.