SIU Goes to Evansville for MVC Clash on Sunday

    Dyana Pierre is 12 points away from becoming the 20th player in school history to join the 500-point, 500-rebound club.

    Dyana Pierre is 12 points away from becoming the 20th player in school history to join the 500-point, 500-rebound club.
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    Feb. 22, 2014

    Southern Illinois (4-20, 2-11 MVC) at Evansville (10-14, 5-8 MVC)
     Date Feb. 23, 2014
     Time 2 p.m. CST
     Location Evansville, Ind. -- Ford Center
     Radio Saluki Sports Network | 105.1 FM (Carbondale) | Saluki All-Access

     Notes Southern Illinois | Evansville | MVC
     Season Stats Southern Illinois | Evansville | MVC
     Live Stats Valley Scoreboard |
     Social Media @SIU_WBasketball | @EvansvilleWBB

    The Southern Illinois women's basketball team plays its final game in a three-game road trip at Evansville on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. CST. The three-game road trip for Southern is the longest of the MVC season. SIU is looking for its first road win against an MVC foe since the Salukis knocked off Evansville in 2012.

    Southern Illinois took a one-game advantage in the series with its win in Carbondale on Jan. 26. The Salukis have a 25-24 advantage in a series that dates back to 1985. Despite losing two of three games against Evansville last year, the Salukis have won four of the last six games in the series. The last time SIU got a road MVC win was Jan. 29, 2012, at Evansville.

    Evansville might be the hottest team in the Missouri Valley Conference at the moment. The Purple Aces have won three-straight games, all of which have been over teams in the top half of the conference standings. Evansville started the streak with a win over second-place Northern Iowa--the only team in the conference to beat Wichita State this year--and followed it with wins over Illinois State and preseason MVC favorite Indiana State. Before the recent win streak, Evansville was 2-8 in the conference, including a loss to SIU in Carbondale on Jan. 26. Evansville's rise has coincided with star forward Mallory Ladd returning from an injury. Ladd is the only player in the MVC averaging more rebounds per game than Southern's Dyana Pierre. Ladd nearly averages a double-double, pouring in 11.7 points to go along with 9.8 rebounds per game. Evansville is led by freshman sensation Sara Dickey, who ranks second in the conference in scoring at 18.3 points per game. Dickey poured in 30 points when SIU and Evansville met earlier this year.

    Evansville's defense has also been a key in its winning streak, holding opponents to 56.0 points per game in the stretch. The Purple Aces are second in the MVC in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 38 percent shooting. League-leading Wichita State is the only other team in the conference to hold teams under 40 percent shooting.

    The Evansville Purple Aces got a signature road win with a 63-56 win at Indiana State last Sunday afternoon. Evansville got a career-high 30 points, including 19 in the second half, from Kat Taylor on just 13 total shot attempts. Sara Dickey added 18 points as the Purple Aces picked up their third-straight win. The difference in the game came from the 3-point line, where Evansville went 9-for-22 and Indiana State went just 2-for-20.

    Southern Illinois erased a 15-point deficit with 7:30 remaining in regulation to briefly take a lead over Illinois State last Sunday afternoon. The Redbirds came back to take a three-point lead with 15 seconds left, but Mercedes Griffin hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to send the game into overtime. Illinois State took a quick four-point lead in the OT and held on for a 68-63 win over SIU. Dyana Pierre collected her MVC-leading ninth double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

    The Last Meeting
    Southern Illinois66
    January 26, 2014
    Carbondale, Ill.
    Salukis Top Evansville Behind Pierre's Monster Double-Double
    The Southern Illinois women's basketball team got a much-needed 66-57 win over Evansville on Sunday afternoon at SIU Arena. Southern outhustled the Purple Aces, getting 26 offensive rebounds and forcing 22 turnovers.

    Dyana Pierre APPROACHING 500-500 CLUB
    Dyana Pierre is 12 rebounds away from becoming the 20th player in SIU history in the 500-point, 500-rebound club. Pierre has 552 points and 488 rebounds in her 55-game SIU career. She is only the third Saluki player since 2001 to join the 500-500 club. When she records her 500th career rebound, Pierre will be the fourth player in school history in the 500-500 club with fewer than 100 career games played.

    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.

    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 scoring to 4.0 per game. She has started the last seven games for SIU and scored nine or more points in five of those games. She is averaging 7.7 points per game in that span. Courier, who is seventh in SIU history with 99 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 at Indiana State night gave her 38 for the 2013-14 season, which tied her for fourth on the school's single-season list. With at least six 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.

    Southern has started 12 different lineups in 24 games this season, and no one starting lineup has recorded more than four starts for the Salukis. Each of the last 10 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 24 games in 2013-14. Mercedes Griffin has also cemented her spot in the lineup, starting all 13 conference games, and Azia Washington has started 22 of 24 games this year. Pierre, a sophomore, has been a staple in the lineup for her entire career, collecting 51 starts in her 55 games, including the last 50 consecutive games.

    Dyana Pierre is the MVC leader with nine double-doubles in 24 games. She is also the active career double-double leader with 18 double-doubles, four more than Mallory Ladd of Evansville, who is second with 14. In two years at SIU, Pierre's 18 double-doubles are 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 15 times and has recorded double-digit rebounds an MVC-leading 10 times.

    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.

    Merceds Griffin has stepped up on both ends of the court for the Salukis in conference play, nearly doubling all her statistics from non-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 35 in MVC play (2.7 per game).

    Griffin has picked up her scoring, too. After scoring in double-figures once in the first 13 games this season, Griffin has piled up 114 points in the last 11 games (11.4 points per game) and scored in double figures six times in that span, including a career-best 17 points at Illinois State.

    Mercedes Griffin has picked up more than one steal in nine of the last 12 games. After averaging .8 steals per game in the first 12 games of the season, Griffin has picked up 25 steals in the last 12 games (2.1 per game). In 13 conference games, Griffin averages 1.9 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 7.7 points over the last seven 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 a career-high 17 points at Illinois State and hit the buzzer-beating 3-pointer to send the game to overtime. Griffin has nearly doubled her output in every statistical category during MVC play from non-conference play.
    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 leads the conference in double-doubles (9) and 10-rebound games (10). She 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 and 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 10.0 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game.

    Six of Southern's losses have come by single-digit margins, including five games decided by five 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. In addition, SIU sent the game against Illinois State into overtime with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer but lost 68-63 in OT to the Redbirds.

    The Southern Illinois women's basketball program announced promotions for the final two home games of the year on Friday. The Salukis will support the "We Back Pat" cause on Thursday, Feb. 27, vs. Missouri State and "Donate Life Organ Donation Awareness Day" on Saturday, March 1, vs. Wichita State.

    "We Back Pat" supports legendary former Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2011. There will be information about Alzheimer's in the SIU Arena lobby, and the Illinois Chapter of Alzheimer's Association will be available to answer questions. "Courage" wristbands will be available for sale, with the proceeds going towards grants for research, education, and support for Alzheimer's.

    In addition to honoring SIU's two seniors, Jordyn Courier and Sidney Goins, on March 1 against Wichita State, the Salukis will be wearing green shooting shirts to raise awareness for organ donation. Two-time heart recipient Sharon Clark will sing the national anthem, and fans can sign up to be an organ donor at computer terminals in the lobby; registration takes less than two minutes.

    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.

    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.

    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.