Salukis Travel to League-Leading Wichita State on Friday

    Dyana Pierre leads the MVC with eight double-doubles this season.

    Dyana Pierre leads the MVC with eight double-doubles this season.
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    Jan. 30, 2014

    Southern Illinois (4-14, 2-5 MVC) at Wichita State (16-2, 7-0)
     Date Jan. 31, 2014
     Time 7:05 p.m. CST
     Location Wichita, Kan. -- Koch Arena (10,506)
     Video None
     Radio Saluki Sports Network | 105.1 FM (Carbondale) | Saluki All-Access

     Notes Southern Illinois | Wichita State | MVC
     Season Stats Southern Illinois | Wichita State | MVC
     Live Stats Valley Scoreboard
     Social Media @SIU_WBasketball

    The Southern Illinois women's basketball team travels to Wichita, Kan., to take on the Wichita State Shockers on Friday night. The game is the first road game in a stretch of five road games in the next seven games for the Salukis. The Salukis are coming off their second conference win of the season. Althought SIU is 2-5 in MVC play, it is actually a step in the right direction. Through seven MVC games, Southern has two conference wins for just the second time in the last six seasons.

    Southern Illinois leads the all-time series with Wichita State, 35-29, in a series that goes back to 1981. The Salukis have lost seven-straight games to the Shockers. The last SIU win was on Jan. 30, 2010, at SIU Arena, and the last win at Wichita State came on Jan. 10, 2007. Last year, Wichita swept both games in the season series, earning a 13-point victory at SIU Arena and a 25-point win in Kansas.

    Near the midway point of the conference season, the Shockers have emerged as the Missouri Valley favorite after beating preseason MVC favorite Indiana State in Terre Haute on Monday night. Wichita is a perfect 7-0 in MVC play; they have won six of those games by double-digits and three by 30 or more points.

    Alex Harden leads a balanced Shocker lineup. Harden averages 16 points, six rebounds and five assists per game. Her double-figure scoring average is joined by Jamillah Bonner (13.3 ppg) and Michelle Price (12.0 ppg). WSU has started the same lineup in 17 of their 18 games this year.

    The Shockers lead the conference in both scoring offense and scoring defense, and they outscore their opponents by more than 16 points per game. As a team, they lead the conference in eight categories.

    Wichita got a huge 20-point win over preseason MVC favorite Indiana State in Terre Haute, Ind., on Monday night. The Shockers led by as much as 28 in the second half in the matchup of the conference's top-two teams. Wichita State shot 60 percent from the field and held Indiana State to 40 percent shooting on the Sycamores' home court. Jamillah Bonner, a freshman, had 23 points to lead four WSU players in double-figures.

    Southern Illinois got its second win of the conference season on Sunday afternoon against Evansville at SIU Arena. Dyana Pierre posted 24 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Salukis from a five-point halftime deficit to a nine-point victory.

    Dyana Pierre enters the weekend only three points shy of 500 for her career. With 24 points in her last game against Evansville, Pierre pushed her career average over 10 points per game, and currently averages 10.1 point per game over her 49-game career. She has already surpassed her scoring total from last season, piling up 259 points this year after scoring 238 in 2012-13. The sophomore is second on the team in career points, trailing only Cartaesha Macklin, who has 1,031 points in her career.

    Dyana Pierre has made herself a double-double machine for the Salukis. She leads the conference in 2013-14 with eight double-doubles in 18 games. In two years at SIU, Pierre has totaled 17 double-doubles, which is the most of any SIU player in at least a decade. Against Bradley, Pierre put up 33 points and 18 rebounds, including eight offensive boards. In 18 games this year, Pierre has scored in double-figures 14 times and has recorded double-digit rebounds nine times. After going four games without a double-double--her longest stretch of the season without one, Pierre put up 24 points and 14 rebounds against Evansville.

    In only 49 career games, sophomore center Dyana Pierre has already vaulted into the top 10 in career blocks in SIU history. After posting the fourth-most blocks in a single-season in school history in 2012-13 (36), Pierre now ranks eighth all-time with 67 career blocks. She surpassed Saluki Hall-of-Famer Sue Faber with three blocks against Loyola.

    With her one block against Indiana State, Pierre tied Faber's 31 blocks in 1982-83 for 10th most single-season blocks in school history. Pierre already has 31 blocks in 2013-14 and averages 1.7 per game, which ranks third the Valley. She has recorded at least one block in 15 of 18 games in 2013-14 and has more than one block in nine games.

    Mercedes Griffin taken settled in as the primary point guard for the Salukis. Though point guard is not the natural position for Griffin, she stepped into the role after no point guards were left on the roster when Cartaesha Macklin and Rishonda Napier were no longer available for the season. Griffin has seen her offensive numbers surge over the last few games, both scoring and passing. 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 24 in MVC play (3.4 per game), which ranks sixth 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 60 points in the last five games (12.0 per game), including a career-best 16 points at Drake.

    With the team having only nine available players, all nine have stepped up and contributed during MVC play. The entire available roster has played in every conference game. (Jordyn Courier was not available vs. Bradley due to illness.) Below is a list of contributions from all nine players through seven conference games:

    Carlie Corrigan picked up her first two career starts against Drake and Northern Iowa and responded with a career-high seven rebounds and a 3-pointer at Drake.
    Jordyn Courier came off the bench to score a season-high nine points and added three rebounds and two assists against Loyola. She was also a spark-plug in the second half against Evansville and ended up with nine points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals in the win.
    Sidney Goins knocked down six 3-pointers--the second-most in a single game in school history--and had a career-high five assists in helping SIU beat Bradley 100-96 in double-overtime.
    Mercedes Griffin had career highs in both points (16) and assists (seven) at Drake and has nearly doubled her scoring average and nearly tripled her assist average from the non-conference.
    Ariel Haynes totaled 10 points, three assists, and six rebounds on a weekend road trip against Drake and Northern Iowa.
    Kim Nebo hit the game-clinching free throws in double-overtime to clinch SIU's conference win over Bradley. Nebo also posted career-bests in points (nine) and rebounds (four) at UNI.
    Dyana Pierre had a monster 33-point, 18-rebound performance to lead the Salukis to their win over Bradley.
    Hannah Shores had seven points, five assists and three rebounds in the win over the Braves.
    Azia Washington leads the Salukis in scoring in MVC play (15.5 per game) and posted 27 points and 15 rebounds against Bradley.

    Dyana Pierre and Azia Washington, the only two Salukis two have started all 18 games this year, make up the only teammate duo to rank in the top 10 in the MVC in rebounding in both all games and conference-only games. Pierre ranks second in the conference in rebounding at 9.4 per game overall and 10.0 rebounds per game in MVC play. Washington ranks eighth in the conference in rebounding in all games at 7.1 rebounds and eighth in MVC games with 7.0 boards per game.

    In addition to rebounding, Pierre and Washington are two of the most accurate shooters in the conference. Pierre is shooting 51 percent from the field, which ranks sixth in the conference and is a 11-point increase over her shooting percentage last year (39.7 percent). Pierre is also shooting 51 percent through seven MVC games. Washington is shooting 53 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.

    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 69.9 points this year, a 4.6 points-per-game improvement even after SIU allowed four of its 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 fifth 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. 2 in MVC games in 3-point field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot only 24.5 percent from long range.

    The Last Meeting
    Southern Illinois55
    Wichita State80
    February 23, 2013
    Wichita, Kan.
    Hot-shooting Shockers down SIU 80-55
    The Southern Illinois women's basketball team couldn't slow down a hot-shooting Wichita State squad in an 80-55 loss to the Shockers Saturday at Koch Arena.

    Southern's thrilling 100-96 double-overtime win over Bradley on Jan. 2 was a game that will be remembered not only by fans but by the SIU record books as well. Southern broke the school record in shot attempts with 92 against the Braves, toppling the previous record of 91 set on Nov. 21, 1980 vs. SEMO. SIU's triple-digit plateau was the first time the Salukis had crossed the 100-point plane since Mar. 5, 1984 -- the same game the school record for points in a game was set (101 vs. Indiana State). The combined 196 points scored registers as the fifth-most single-game points in a Valley game ever. The trip to double overtime was the first such game for SIU since Feb. 23, 1983 (Missouri, L, 83-76), and only the third in school history. Sophomores Dyana Pierre (33 points, 14-of-22 shooting) and Azia Washington (27 points, 12-of-19 shooting) set new career highs in both points, shots and shot attempts, and senior Sidney Goins (18 points) set a new career-high in three point field goals (6) and three-point attempts (14).

    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. The team is also now on Facebook. Like the team's Facebook page by clicking HERE.