Feb. 28, 2003
Seniors Suit Up For Last Time At SIU Arena
SIU will bid farewell to seniors Molly McDowell, Hillary Phillips and Megan Miller who will suit up for their last time at SIU Arena. McDowell will finish a four-year SIU career at home, while both Phillips and Miller will cap off two-year stints.
SIU, who won three of its last six games, has a rather slim chance of making this year's Missouri Valley Conference Tournament after its 83-68 loss to Bradley Thursday night. Currently standing two games out of eighth place behind both Evansville (8th) and Illinois State (9th), SIU pretty much has to win its last three games to have a decent shot. However, if SIU wins two of its remaining three games, it may still get to the league's postseason dance if the Purple Aces and Redbirds each lose the rest of their games.
Despite leading 27-12 in its overall series against Northern Iowa, SIU has dropped 10 of its last 11 meetings to the Panthers. Losing 83-53 to UNI on Feb. 2 in Cedar Falls, the Salukis have only beaten the Panthers one time in their last five contests at home.
Katie Berwanger's 12 rebounds at Indiana State (2/20) marked the third time in SIU's last five games that she has recorded double figures in boards. Averaging a team-leading 6.0 boards per game, Berwanger also leads the Salukis with four double-doubles this season, including two in her last six contests.
Junior Tiffany Crutcher, who has registered a second-best three double-doubles this season, recorded 10 points against Bradley Thursday. Crutcher, who shot 3-of-5 from the field to go along with a perfect 4-of-4 at the free throw line, has scored double figures in three of the Dawgs' last five games.
Rebounds Keying Salukis
SIU has out-rebounded its opponents 178-167 over its last four games. Averaging 44.5 boards per game during that span, the Dawgs pulled down a season-high 62 rebounds against Creighton (2/16), who grabbed just 42. The impressive 62-rebound mark fell two boards shy of a single-game record.
Jones Steps Up
Sophomore Danette Jones posted her first double-digit outing since Jan. 25 Thursday against Bradley. Jones, who came off the bench to score 10 points in eight minutes against the Braves, shot 3-of-5 from the field, including a near-perfect 2-of-3 from behind the three-point arc. For Jones, her 10-point effort marked the third time this season that she has come off the bench to score double figures.
McDowell Keeps Dominating
The team's leading scorer with 14.2 points per game, Molly McDowell scored at least 15 points in a game for the 13th time this season Thursday against Bradley. McDowell led all Saluki scorers shooting 5-of-15 from the field and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Additionally, she grabbed nine rebounds, dished out three assists and gathered two blocks.
McDowell and Berwanger Named Scholar-Athlete All-MVC
Senior Molly McDowell and junior Katie Berwanger were named to the 2003 Missouri Valley Conference Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete Team, announced Feb. 25. McDowell, who carries a 3.11 GPA in Recreation, took second-team honors, while Berwanger (3.88 GPA in Visual Communication) was voted honorable mention. In addition, both McDowell and Berwanger earned scholar-athlete honors for the first time in their careers.
About the Salukis
SIU's MVC Tournament hopes seem to be dwindling after the Salukis suffered a 83-68 loss to Bradley Thursday night. Ranking 10th in the Valley at 7-17, 3-12 the Salukis enter Saturday's game led by senior guard Molly McDowell who is averaging 14.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. She is followed by junior point guard Dana Pinkston who scores 9.3 points per contest.
About the Panthers
Northern Iowa is recently coming off a 72-66 win at Evansville Thursday. Thanks to the Panthers, the Salukis remained two games away from the eighth-place Aces. Currently standing in fourth place in the Valley after winning seven of its last nine games, UNI enters Saturday's matchup led by senior guard/forward Katie Miller who is averaging 19.0 points per game. Amy Swisher follows scoring 15.9 points, while Alex Cook rounds out the Panthers' leading trio averaging a double-double 11.4 points and 12.3 rebounds per contest.
Lori Opp (Western Illinois, '88) is 20-58 in her third year as head coach of SIU. Eight of Opp's 20 wins have come against non-conference opponents. Meanwhile, Tony DiCecco (Upper Iowa, '71) is 111-107 in his eighth season at Northern Iowa.
SIU is 3-13 this season when committing 20 or more turnovers in a game. Averaging 22.0 miscues per contest, the Salukis have turned the ball over a combined 112 times in their last five outings. Dana Pinkston has accounted for a team-leading 109 turnovers this season, including seven or more in six of her 24 games.
McDowell on a Tear
Molly McDowell has averaged 18.8 points per contest in SIU's last four games. In 21 or more minutes played in each of those outings, McDowell shot 32-of-77 (.416) from the field and 6-of-18 (.333) from three-point range. She also made 28-of-34 (.824) at the free throw line, including a 9-of-10 effort against Drake (2/14), where she became the school's all-time career leader in free throws made. Additionally, she dished out 15 assists, gathered six blocks and had 10 steals.
22 and Over Only Please
The team's leading scorer, Molly McDowell has registered 22 or more points on six occasions this season. Scoring a career-high of 35 points, which rank as the most in a single game by any women's basketball player in the Valley this season, McDowell has touched the nets for 23 or more points in three of SIU's last four games.
McDowell 12th in Nation in Free Throw Percentage
SIU's all-time leader in free throws, Molly McDowell currently ranks 12th among NCAA Division I women's basketball leaders with a .887 percentage. McDowell is 94- of-106 at the charity stripe this season.