SIU Heads to Terre Haute for Clash With Sycamores on Friday

    Jordyn Courier has averaged 8.2 points per game over the last five games.

    Jordyn Courier has averaged 8.2 points per game over the last five games.
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    Feb. 13, 2014

    Southern Illinois (4-18, 2-9 MVC) at Indiana State (12-9, 7-3 MVC)
     Date Feb. 14, 2014
     Time 6:05 p.m. CST
     Location Terre Haute, Ind. -- Hulman Center (10,200)
     Radio Saluki Sports Network | 105.1 FM (Carbondale) | Saluki All-Access

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

    The Southern Illinois women's basketball team starts a three-game road trip -- its longest of the Missouri Valley Conference season -- at Indiana State on Friday evening. Five of the last seven MVC games are on the road, starting with the Sycamores. Southern is looking for its first road win in MVC play since Jan. 29, 2012, against Evansville. The last non-Evansville road MVC win was against Illinois State in 2008.

    Southern Illinois is clinging to a 41-39 lead in the all-time series, but the Sycamores have won 11-straight games between the two. The last SIU win came on Feb. 21, 2009, with the Salukis got a 74-71 win at SIU Arena. Southern hasn't won at Indiana State since Dec. 29, 1999, a string of 14-straight losses, when now Director of Basketball Operations Julie Beck was the head coach of the Salukis.

    Indiana State, the preseason Valley favorite, has lost three of its last four games after starting conference play 6-0. Indiana State has been without second-leading scorer Anna Munn for the last two games with an injury, and Munn will not play against the Salukis. Munn averaged 13.1 points and 4.9 rebounds in 33.3 minutes per game for the Sycamores.

    The Sycamores are led by Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, a transfer who has had an immediate impact in Terre Huate. Abdul-Qaadir leads the team with 14.1 points per game, 60 blocks, and 41 steals.

    Although ISU ranks seventh in the 10-team MVC in scoring offense, the Sycamores clamp down on defense, holding opponents to just 62.2 points per game, the second-best mark in the conference. They swipe 9.6 steals per game and force 19.1 turnovers, which are both second-best in the conference, and are one of only three teams in the Valley with a positive turnover margin.

    The Last Meeting
    Indiana State63
    Southern Illinois44
    January 19, 2014
    Carbondale, Ill.
    SIU Falls to Preseason MVC Favorite Indiana State, 63-44
    The Southern Illinois women's basketball team brought hustle and defense against preseason MVC favorite Indiana State on Sunday afternoon, but the Salukis couldn't generate enough offense to get a win.

    The Indiana State Sycamores struggled on offense in a 53-50 loss to the surging Illinois State Redbirds. Indiana State turned the ball over a season-high 25 turnovers and didn't have any starters score in double-figures. Indiana State held an eight-point lead in the second half, but Illinois State went on a critical 9-0 run to pull the upset.

    Southern Illinois ran into perhaps the hottest outside shooting team in the MVC on Sunday afternoon in an 80-55 loss to Drake. The Bulldogs hit 10 3-pointers, their fifth-straight game with at least 10 3-pointers made. Jordyn Courier led the Salukis with 13 points in the game, including three 3-pointers, and Hannah Shores scored a career-high 11 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists.

    When Indiana State and Southern Illinois met earlier this season, both teams' defenses played well. Southern Illinois held the Sycamores to just 38 percent shooting on the night, but Indiana State's defense was even better, limiting the Salukis to just 44 points. A close game throughout, Indiana State pulled away with a 10-0 run with eight minutes remaining in the game.

    Indiana State is hosting its Go Pink game on Friday night against the Salukis. The Southern Illinois vs. Drake game on Feb. 8 was Southern's Go Pink game. Southern Illinois wore unique, pink jerseys for the game. Ten winning bidders had the opportunity to put the name of their choosing on the back of a jersey, including the opportunity to honor a survivors or victims of cancer. The winning bids totaled more than $4,000, all of which is going to the Hope is Home campaign, Southern Illinois Healthcare's fundraiser for a new, comprehensive cancer center in southern Illinois. After the game, bidders kept were given their jerseys to keep. Combined with the three years of the Black Out Cancer annual football game and jersey auction, Southern Illinois athletics has raised more than $200,000 for the Hope is Home campaign.

    Senior Jordyn Courier is on a roll to end her senior year. Courier didn't score in six of the first eight games of the year and totaled just four points in that time. Since, she has raised her points per game 3.3 points. She has started the last five games for SIU and scored nine or more points in four of those games. Courier, who is seventh in SIU history with 96 career 3-pointers, led the team with 13 points and three 3-pointers the last time out against Drake.

    Sophomore center Dyana Pierre has already matched her block total from her freshman campaign. Her 36 blocks both as a freshman and a sophomore rank fifth in school history for blocks in a single season. With at least eight more games to play, Pierre needs six more blocks to tie Cathy Kampwerth's 1988-89 total of 42 blocks, which ranks third in school history. Combined, Pierre's 72 career blocks already rank eighth in school history, and she is just 11 blocks away from third-place on the school's all-time career list.

    PIERRE 50TH TO 500
    Dyana Pierre surpassed the 500 career points mark at Missouri State. The sophomore center became the 50th player in program history to score 500 or more points. After scoring 238 points as a freshman, Pierre eclipsed that mark in the 18th game of her second campaign. The sophomore is second on the team in career points, trailing only Cartaesha Macklin, who has 1,031 points in her career.

    Southern has started 11 different lineups in 22 games this season, and no one starting lineup has recorded more than three starts for the Salukis. Each of the last eight games have featured a new starting lineup, and 10 different players have started at least two games for the Salukis. Dyana Pierre is the only player on the roster to have started all 22 games in 2013-14. Mercedes Griffin has also cemented her spot in the lineup, starting all 11 conference games, and Azia Washington has started 21 of 22 games this year. Pierre, a sophomore, has been a staple in the lineup for her entire career, collecting 49 starts in her 53 games, including the last 48 consecutive games.

    Dyana Pierre has made herself a double-double machine for the Salukis. She is tied for the conference lead in 2013-14 with eight double-doubles in 22 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 21 games this year, Pierre has scored in double-figures 14 times and has recorded double-digit rebounds nine times. Her nine double-figure rebound games lead the conference. 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.

    Pierre is also one of the top rebounders in the MVC. At 8.7 rebounds per game, Pierre ranks second in the conference in rebounding and has the most 10+ rebound games of any player in the MVC with nine.

    Mercedes Griffin has 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 32 in MVC play (2.9 per game), which ranks ninth in the Missouri Valley. Griffin dished a career-best seven dimes to go along with her career-high 16 points the last time SIU played 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 94 points in the last nine games (10.4 points per game) and scored in double figures five times in that span, including a career-best 16 points at Drake.

    Mercedes Griffin has picked up more than one steal in eight of the last 10 games. After averaging .8 steals per game in the first 12 games of the season, Griffin has picked up 22 steals in the last 10 games (2.2 per game). In 11 conference games, Griffin averages 2.0 steals per contest, which ranks sixth in the Valley. Griffin had five steals against both Evansville and Wichita State.

    With the team having only nine available players, all nine have stepped up and contributed during MVC play.

    Carlie Corrigan scored a career-high seven points in both games of a weekend road trip to Wichita State and Missouri State.
    Jordyn Courier is averaging 8.2 points over the last five games, leading the team with 13 points against Drake.
    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 season.
    Ariel Haynes totaled 10 points, three assists, and six rebounds on a weekend road trip against Drake and Northern Iowa. She pulled in a career-best eight rebounds at Wichita State.
    Kim Nebo hit the game-clinching free throws in double-overtime to clinch SIU's conference win over Bradley. Nebo also posted a career-high 10 points at Missouri State.
    Dyana Pierre had monster performances in both of Southern's conference wins, totaling 33 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Salukis to their win over Bradley. She posted another double-double, this time 24 points and 14 rebounds, in the win over Evansville.
    Hannah Shores scored a career-best 11 points vs. Drake.
    Azia Washington is second on the team in scoring and rebounding with 10.3 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game.

    The game time for the Southern Illinois vs. Wichita State clash on March 1 has been set for 6:05 p.m. CST at SIU Arena.

    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.

    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.

    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.