Southern Illinois Travels to Illinois State on Sunday

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    Feb. 15, 2014

    Southern Illinois (4-19, 2-10 MVC) at Illinois State (6-15, 5-6 MVC)
     Date Feb. 16, 2014
     Time 2:05 p.m. CST
     Location Normal, Ill. -- Redbird Arena
     Radio Saluki Sports Network | 97.7 FM (Carbondale) | Saluki All-Access

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

    The Southern Illinois women's basketball team plays its second game in a three-game road trip on Sunday afternoon at Illinois State. Five of the last seven MVC games are on the road for SIU, starting with Indiana State on Friday night. 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.

    Illinois State holds a 56-44 lead in the series, which began in 1962. The Redbirds have won 12-straight games in the series, and the Salukis are looking for their first win over Illinois State since a 72-69 road win over the Redbirds on March 6, 2008. Last year, the Salukis lost a tight three-point game at SIU Arena but got blown out by 48 points in Normal, Ill. Earlier this year, the Redbirds got a 76-59 win over the Salukis. Octavia Crump led the Redbirds with 20 points, while Chloe Nelson added 19. Dyana Pierre and Mercedes Griffin each had 14 to lead SIU, while Sidney Goins had 11.

    Illinois State came into conference play at just 1-9 but have come together during conference play. The Redbirds sit at 5-6 in Missouri Valley Conference play to sit tied for fifth place in the conference entering Sunday's game. ISU has won two of its last four games, including a 53-50 upset over Indiana State last weekend. On Friday night, Evansville topped Illinois State 75-62.

    Chloe Nelson is the only Illinois State player to average double-figures, pouring in 13.9 points per game. Octavia Crump, who had 20 earlier this season against the Salukis, averaged 9.8 points and a team-leading 6.6 rebounds per game. In MVC play, both Nelson (14.0) and Crump (11.9) average double-figures, along with Stekara Hall (10.2).

    The Redbirds are similar to SIU in scoring offense and defense. Illinois State ranks ninth in the 10-team MVC in scoring offense at less than 60 points per game, but the Redbirds make up for it with the third-best scoring defense at 65.6 points per game.

    The Illinois State Redbirds fell to Evansville on Friday evening, 75-62. The Redbirds fell into an early 19-point hole and couldn't overcome the deficit despite a 39-point second half. Chloe Nelson led the team with 15 points, the only Redbird in double-figures.

    The Saluki offense stalled in a 72-35 loss to Indiana State at Terre Haute on Friday night. Southern had a 10-minute stretch in the first half without scoring and a 12-minute stretch without a field goal on its way to its lowest scoring output of the season. SIU held Indiana State to 40 percent shooting in the second half but managed only 17 and 18 points in the first and second half, respectively. Carlie Corrigan led SIU with nine points, and Dyana Pierre added seven points and nine rebounds for the Salukis.

    The Last Meeting
    Illinois State76
    Southern Illinois59
    January 17, 2014
    Carbondale, Ill.
    SIU Women's Basketball Drops Game to Illinois State
    The Southern Illinois women's basketball team dropped a 76-59 decision to Illinois State on Friday night at SIU Arena.

    Illinois State is hosting its Play 4Kay cancer awareness game against SIU on Sunday. It marks the third-straight cancer awareness game for SIU after Indiana State hosted its Go Pink game on Friday evening. 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 to 3.8 points per game. She has started the last six games for SIU and scored nine or more points in four of those games. She is averaging 7.5 points per game in that span. Courier, who is seventh in SIU history with 96 career 3-pointers, led the team with 13 points and three 3-pointers the against Drake.

    Sophomore center Dyana Pierre has already exceeded her block total from her freshman campaign. Her 36 blocks both as a freshman rank fifth in school history for blocks in a single season, and her two blocks on Friday night gave her 38 for the 2013-14 season, which tied her for fourth on the school's single-season list. With at least Seven more games to play, Pierre needs four more blocks to tie Cathy Kampwerth's 1988-89 total of 42 blocks, which ranks third in school history. Combined, Pierre's 74 career blocks already rank eighth in school history, and she is just 9 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 12 different lineups in 23 games this season, and no one starting lineup has recorded more than three starts for the Salukis. Each of the last nine games have featured a different 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 23 games in 2013-14. Mercedes Griffin has also cemented her spot in the lineup, starting all 12 conference games, and Azia Washington has started 21 of 23 games this year. Pierre, a sophomore, has been a staple in the lineup for her entire career, collecting 50 starts in her 54 games, including the last 49 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 23 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 23 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 34 in MVC play (2.8 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 97 points in the last 10 games (9.7 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 nine of the last 11 games. After averaging .8 steals per game in the first 12 games of the season, Griffin has picked up 24 steals in the last 11 games (2.2 per game). In 12 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 nine points at Indiana State, which led the team.
    Jordyn Courier is averaging 7.5 points over the last six 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 10.9 points per game and 6.2 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.