SIU Defense Deals Flames 57-40 Loss in Opp's Debut

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    November 18, 2000

    Chicago, Ill. -

    Southern Illinois University Carbondale (1-0) forced the University of Illinois-Chicago (0-1) into eight turnovers in the first eight minutes of the second half which resulted in a 14-2 run enabling the Salukis to post a 57-40 victory over the Flames Saturday at the UIC Pavilion.

    The victory, which marked Lori Opp's first as head coach, was the first season-opener the Salukis have won since 1996-97 when they defeated Murray State 95-63 (11/23). The win also marked both SIU's fourth consecutive in the overall series and fourth on the Flames' homecourt as SIU now leads 9-4.

    Of the 20 minutes in the first half, both teams had a hard time finding the basket as 8:24 of scoreless basketball was played which saw SIU and UIC shoot an identical 33 percent from the field as the Flames took a 25-22 lead at the break. Junior Holly Teague, who scored the team's first basket of the 2000-01 season, paced the Dawgs with seven first-half points.

    In the second half, Southern Illinois came out of the locker room looking like an entirely different team. The Salukis turned the eight early UIC turnovers into 14 quick points highlighted by Molly McDowell (6) and Terica Hathaway (6) who accounted for 12 during the spurt. The run is then what proved to be the difference as the Salukis took advantage of the momentum shift to post the 57-40 win.

    McDowell (4) and Teague (5) combined for nine steals which led the Saluki defense to force a total of 20 turnovers in the game, 15 of which came in the second half. Offensively, Teague also had a remarkable performance in her debut scoring 14 points on a .500 display (5-10) from the field. Three others in Kristine Abramowski (12) McDowell (10), and Hathaway (10) then rounded out SIU's leading scorers despite the Dawgs' .378 shooting from the field.

    LeKesha Williams led the Flames with 13 points who were without their top two players in Kimberly Henry and Melea Clark. Both were sidelined due to ineligibility.



    SIU will return to action Saturday, Nov. 25, when the Dawgs travel to Lafayette, La., to take on Louisiana-Lafayette. Tip-off is set for 11 a.m.

    Other Saluki Notes:

    • Sophomore forward Katie Berwanger suffered a sprained left knee during the team's practice at Rend Lake C.C., Friday, and did not start in Saturday's game against the Flames. Berwanger's return is undetermined at this point.
    • Junior forward Geshla Woodard, who took the place of the injured Berwanger, started the first game in her career. Prior to Saturday's contest, Woodard saw action in 32 games, but was never in the starting lineup.