SIU Hosts Indiana State on Sunday

    Dyana Pierre has raised her field goal percentage from 40 percent last year to 52 percent in 2013-14.

    Dyana Pierre has raised her field goal percentage from 40 percent last year to 52 percent in 2013-14.
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    Jan. 18, 2014

    Southern Illinois (3-13, 1-4 MVC) vs. Indiana State (9-6, 4-0 MVC)
     Date Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014
     Time 2 p.m. CST
     Location Carbondale, Ill. -- SIU Arena
     Video Saluki All-Access
     Radio Saluki Sports Network | 105.1 FM (Carbondale)

     Notes Southern Illinois | Indiana State | MVC
     Season Stats Southern Illinois | Indiana State | MVC
     Live Stats Gametracker | Valley Scoreboard
     Social Media @SIU_WBasketball | @IndianaStateWBB

    The Southern Illinois women's basketball team takes on Indiana State on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. The Salukis (3-13, 1-4 Missouri Valley) are coming off a 76-59 loss to Illinois State on Friday night. Indiana State is the preseason No. 1 team in the MVC and is one of two teams that is undefeated in Valley play. The game will be broadcast on 105.1 FM in Carbondale, with Bryce Williams (play-by-play) and Logan Lee (analysis) calling the action.

    The Salukis lead the all-time series with the Sycamores, 41-38, in a series that dates back to 1968. However, Indiana State has won 10-straight games in the series. SIU's last win came on Feb. 21, 2009, when the Salukis got a 74-71 win at home. The Sycamores swept two games last season, winning by 13 at SIU arena and 15 in Terre Haute, Ind.

    Indiana State was ranked No. 1 in the preseason MVC poll and has lived up to that billing so far. The Sycamores are one of two teams with a perfect record in MVC play. Indiana State moved to 4-0 in MVC play with a 67-46 win at Evansville on Thursday night.

    Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, Anna Munn, Marina Laramie and Racheal Mahan lead the Sycamores. All four have started every game they have played in. Abdul-Qaadir, Munn and Laramie all average double-figures and each plays at least 29 minutes per game. Mahan leads the squad in rebounding at 7.3 per game, and Munn has hit 35 3-pointers this season (2.3 per game) and shoots 35 percent from deep.

    "Indiana State that was picked to win the league, and you can see why. They can score at every position and play hard-nosed defense. They're very well coached, so we know they're going to be a tough second game of the weekend for us."

    On Thursday night, the Sycamores made the short trip to Evansville and pulled out a 21-point win over the Aces. The Sycamores led the game wire-to-wire and held Evansville without a field goal for the last six minutes of the game. Anna Munn had 20 points to lead all scorers, including four 3-pointers, and Marina Laramie put up 19 points and six rebounds.

    Southern fell behind early against Illinois State on Friday night and couldn't get back in the game, dropping a 76-59 contest to the Redbirds. Dyana Pierre had 14 points and eight rebounds, and Mercedes Griffin and Sidney Goins added 14 and 11 points, respectively, but Southern had 22 turnovers and was outrebounded by nine.

    Mercedes Griffin has stepped up in the point guard role during conference play. Griffin totaled 14 assists in 11 non-conference games (1.3 per game); but she surpassed that total in the first four MVC games this year. Griffin racked up 17 assists (4.3 per game) in the first four games and has 19 in MVC play (3.8 per game), which ranks fifth in the Missouri Valley. Griffin dished a career-best seven dimes to go along with her career-high 16 points in SIU's 74-72 loss at Drake.

    Griffin has picked up her scoring, too. After scoring in double-figures once in the first 13 games this season, Griffin has piled up 34 points in the last three games (11.3 per game), including a career-best 16 points at Drake.

    Azia Washington has come on strong lately for SIU. After scoring no more than eight points in the first five games of the season and no more than 14 in the first nine games of the season, Washington has scored 19 or more points in four of the last seven games and averaged 15.9 points per game in those games, even after scoring only four points on Friday night against Illinois State.

    She posted her first double-double of the season with 27 points and 15 rebounds in SIU's double-OT win over Bradley. Against UNI, Washington scored 15 first-half points, the only Saluki with more than two points at the break.

    Dyana Pierre has made herself a double-double machine for the Salukis. Pierre has recorded seven double-doubles in 16 games this year. In two years at SIU, Pierre has totaled 16 double-doubles. Against Bradley, Pierre put up 33 points and 18 rebounds, including eight offensive boards. In 16 games this year, Pierre has scored in double-figures 13 times and has recorded double-digit rebounds in eight games.

    Dyana Pierre and Azia Washington, the only two Salukis two have started all 16 games this year, have become two of the top rebounders in the MVC. Pierre ranks second in the conference in rebounding at 9.2 per game and third in MVC play at 9.6 boards in five conference games so far. Washington ranks seventh in the conference in rebounding in all games at 7.1 rebounds per game and ranks eighth in conference play, averaging 7.0 boards per game. Washington's 7.1 rebounding average would lead six teams in the Valley, and her and Pierre are the only duo in the conference that both rank in the top seven in the MVC in rebounding in both all games and conference-only games.

    In addition to rebounding, Pierre and Washington are two of the most accurate shooters in the conference. Pierre is shooting 52 percent from the field, which ranks third in the conference and is a 12-point increase over her shooting percentage last year (39.7 percent). Pierre has actually increased her percentage in conference play and is shooting 55 percent through five MVC games. Washington is also shooting 55 percent in Valley play and 48 percent on the season. Both players rank in the top-10 in shooting percentage in conference in both all games and MVC games.

    Five of Southern's losses have come by single-digit margins, including four games decided by four points or fewer. Twice, SIU has has lost a two-point game with an opponent jumper with 1.5 seconds remaining, dropping games to Austin Peay and Drake at the last second.

    Sophomore center Dyana Pierre vaulted into the top-10 all-time in blocks in SIU history with her four blocks against Bradley on Jan. 2. After posting the fourth-most blocks in a single-season in school history in 2012-13 (36), Pierre now ranks eighth all-time with 66 career blocks, surpassing Saluki Hall-of-Famer Sue Faber with three blocks against Loyola. Pierre already has 30 blocks in 2013-14--including three blocks on Friday night against Illinois State--and averages 1.9 per game, which ranks second the Valley. Pierre averages 2.2 blocks per game in MVC play, which ranks third in the conference. Pierre leads a Saluki team that ranks fourth in the conference with 3.8 blocks per game.

    The Last Meeting
    Indiana State77
    Southern Illinois64
    February 16, 2013
    Carbondale, Ill.
    Indiana State tops Salukis 77-64
    The Southern Illinois women's basketball team couldn't sustain the momentum from a strong opening half in a 77-64 loss to Indiana State Saturday afternoon at SIU Arena.

    Southern has improved its defense from a season ago. After allowing 74.5 points per game in 2012-13, head coach Cindy Stein's crew is allowing only 71.1 points this year, a 3.4 points-per-game improvement even after allowing four of Southern's first five conference opponents to score 74 points or more. The Saluki defense currently ranks sixth in the 10-team league after placing 9th in scoring defense last season. The team's field goal percentage defense ranks third in the conference this year (.419). The Salukis held Drake, who entered their Jan. 10 matchup as the best 3-point shooting team in the MVC, to just 4-for-21 from long range (19 percent) and is No. 3 in MVC games in 3-point field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot only 23.5 percent from long range.

    The 2013-14 season is the first at SIU for head coach Cindy Stein, who inherited a team that went 5-26 in 2012-13 and didn't win more than eight games in the previous four seasons. Stein comes from Illinois Central College, where she coached ICC to a 32-4 record and a third-place finish at the NJCAA Division II national tournament during her lone season in 2012-13. Prior to Stein, ICC had gone 16-16 in 2011-12. Stein's coaching profile includes a successful 12-year stint at Missouri and a three-year period at Emporia State to start her head coaching career. Over 16 seasons as a head coach, Stein holds a 282-206 (.578) record, three NCAA Tournament appearances, a Sweet 16 run in 2001 and three trips to the WNIT -- all at Missouri.

    First-year SIU head coach Cindy Stein spent 12 successful seasons in Columbia, Mo., at the helm of Missouri's women's basketball program from 1998-2010. Stein inherited a Tiger basketball team that went 11-16 in 1997-98 and turned that around to 21-10 and a trip to the Sweet 16 by only her third season at Mizzou in 2000-01. Stein's run with the Tigers saw 185 wins, five WNBA Draft selections and seven postseason appearances -- including three NCAA Tournament appearances (2001, 04, 06). Stein's players earned 24 All-Big 12 honors (four First-Team) and 46 Academic All-Big 12 nods.

    Coach Stein brings a brand new support staff with her to Carbondale. Andrea Gorski (associate head coach), Kat Martin (assistant coach/recruiting coordinator), Christelle N'Garsanet (assistant coach), Amanda Hanneman (video coordinator) and former Saluki head coach Julie Beck (director of operations) round out the new crew in the Boydston Center offices. Gorski comes from Concordia University, where she turned around a sub-.500 club into a national NAIA powerhouse in five seasons. Martin comes from Kishwaukee College, where she was the associate head coach for six seasons. N'Garsanet, a former standout of Stein's at Mizzou and a 2006 WNBA Draft selection, spent two years at Illinoic Central College -- including Stein's 32-4 season in 2012-13. Hanneman is also a former player of Stein's at Mizzou from 2006-10, and she spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Sonoma State. Beck returns to Carbondale for her 30th year in Saluki Athletics as the director of operations. Beck was an assistant coach under Saluki Hall of Fame head coach Cindy Scott from 1981-1998, took over as head coach from 1998-2000, and worked in marketing and group sales for Saluki Athletics an additional 10 seasons after her coaching career ended.

    Southern Illinois was voted to finish tenth in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2013-14 in a preseason poll release on Oct. 30 at media day at Loyola University in Chicago. Indiana State was chosen to win the Valley crown with 26 first place votes, followed by Wichita State in second place with 13. Southern was voted to finish eighth in 2012-13, but finished tenth at the end of the season after posting a 5-26 record, which included a 1-17 conference record.

    Dyana Pierre moved onto the SIU single-season during her freshman season in 2012-13 with 36 total blocks, the fourth-best total in school history. Pierre blocked a career-best five shots Nov. 17, 2012, against Loyola, making her only the second SIU player in the last 12 years (CiCi Shannon) to block five shots in a game. That total is tied for the eighth-highest single-game total in SIU history.

    The flagship station for Saluki women's basketball is WVZA 105.1 FM, although 10 regular season games will be broadcast on WHET 97.7 FM due to conflicts with SIU men's basketball broadcasts. Bryce Williams is in his second season as the full-time radio broadcaster for Saluki women's basketball, while Logan Lee enters his first season as the team's color commentator.

    The official Twitter of Saluki women's basketball is SIU_WBasketball. This account features team news as well as live in-game updates. Fans can also follow Saluki Athletics @SIUSalukis for news on all SIU sports.

    Coverage for every Saluki women's basketball game is available online though Saluki All-Access at A live audio stream will be available for every game and live video will be available for all home games. Saluki All-Access also has on-demand content for all 18 Saluki sports.

    SALUKI NEWS ONLINE is the official website for SIU Athletics. It is the best source for up-to-date information on the Saluki women's basketball team. Rosters, box scores, cumulative statistics, pre-game notes and other materials are available on the site. You will need Adobe Acrobat to read PDF files.