Salukis face Creighton Saturday in season finale

    Interim head coach Adrianne Harlow

    Interim head coach Adrianne Harlow
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    March 8, 2013

    By Bill Ford

    CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Southern Illinois women’s basketball team finishes off the 2012-13 regular season Saturday at Creighton.

    Date: Saturday, March 9
    Time: 2:05 p.m. CST
    Location: Omaha, Neb.
    Site: D.J. Sokol Arena (2,500)

    Radio: WVZA 105.1 FM
    Play-by-play by Bryce Williams
    Color commentary by Johnny Sole

    Saluki All Access (live audio)

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    Southern Illinois Salukis (4-24, 1-16 MVC)
    Interim Coach:
    Adrianne Harlow, First Year (0-12 overall, 0-12 at SIU)
    Creighton Bluejays (22-6, 14-3 MVC)
    Head Coach:
    Jim Flanery, 11th Year (212-135 overall and at Creighton)

    Southern trails its all-time series with Creighton 33-15 and the Bluejays have won the last 10 matchups. SIU’s last win over Creighton came in Carbondale during the 2007-08 season and SIU hasn’t topped the Bluejays in Omaha since the 2006-07 season. Creighton enters the matchup at 22-6 overall and 14-3 in the MVC. A win over the Salukis would give the Bluejays at least a share of the MVC regular season title and a chance at the No. 1 seed in the MVC Tournament next week. The Bluejays enter Saturday’s matchup on a six-game winning streak, although they needed overtime to defeat Evansville Thursday night. Creighton is led by the tandem of freshman Marissa Janning and junior Sarah Nelson. Janning averages a team-best 13.6 points per game while Nelson averages 12.1 points and a team-high 7.9 rebounds per game to go along with an average of 3.6 assists per game. Creighton leads the nation with an average of 9.5 3-pointers made per game.



    SIU couldn’t slow down a hot-shooting Creighton squad in an 81-60 loss to the Bluejays January 3 in the conference opener for both teams at SIU Arena. Creighton shot 54.2 percent form the floor and 40 percent from 3-point range as the Salukis struggled to stall the Jays defensively. Rishonda Napier went 4-for-5 from 3-point range and scored 16 points to lead the Salukis while Dyana Pierre added 12 points and seven rebounds and Cartaesha Macklin finished with 11 points and four assists. Sarah Nelson led four Bluejays in double figures scoring with 18 points to go along with eight rebounds. SIU out-rebounded the Bluejays 33-32, but had 20 turnovers compared to Creighton’s 13.

    Sophomore guard Cartaesha Macklin leads SIU and ranks third in the MVC with an average of 14.9 points per game in addition to averaging an MVC-leading 4.2 assists per game. Freshman guard Rishonda Napier is second on the team at 11.3 points per game, which ranks third among Valley freshmen. Freshman center Dyana Pierre leads the MVC in rebounding with a team-leading 8.9 per game, and ranks second in the Valley with an average of 1.1 blocks per game.

    SIU fell in a steep second-half deficit and couldn’t climb back out in an 80-65 loss to Drake Thursday night at the Knapp Center. The Salukis trailed just five at halftime, but fell behind as much as 20 in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Southern battled back within eight points with less than five minutes to play, but the Bulldogs held off the Salukis in the final minutes. Cartaesha Macklin led SIU with a game-high 21 points to go along with seven assists while Rishonda Napier added 15 points and Dyana Pierre pulled down 12 rebounds. Kyndal Clark led Drake with 20 points and 10 assists while Ashley Bartow added 16 points and Morgan Reid finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds.

    SIU locked up the No. 10 seed in the MVC Tournament with its loss to UNI last Sunday. The only question now is which team will finish with the No. 7 seed and face the Salukis in the 7:05 p.m. game next Thursday in St. Charles, Mo. SIU could potentially face Drake, Evansville or Missouri State depending on how Saturday’s games shake out.

    MACKLIN AT 900
    Cartaesha Macklin surpassed 900 career points Thursday with her 21-point effort against Drake. She now sits at 912 for her career, which ranks 24th in SIU history. Macklin also surpassed 400 points for the season against the Bulldogs, which makes her the first Saluki with consecutive 400-point seasons since Carlai Moore (2005-06 and 2006-07).

    Dyana Pierre moved onto the SIU single-season top 10 blocks list with her three-block performance Thursday at Drake. Pierre’s 31 blocks this season is tied for 10th in SIU history with Sue Faber (1982-83). Pierre blocked a career-best five shots November 17 against Loyola-Chicago, 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.

    Cartaesha Macklin’s 18-point, 10-assist performance last Friday against Bradley marked her second points-assists double-double of the season (19 points, 10 assists Dec. 29 at Chicago State). She is the only player in SIU history with two points-assists double-doubles, and one of only three MVC players with a points-assists double-double this season (UNI’s Jacqui Kalin, Drake’s Kyndal Clark). The last SIU player with a points-assists double-double prior to Macklin was Molly McDowell in 2003. Macklin is one of three SIU players (Connie Erickson, 1979-80 and D.D. Plab, 1980-81) with two double-digit assists games in the same season. A native of Mayo, Fla., Macklin took over as the MVC assists leader last week, now averaging of 4.2 assists per game, with an average of 4.6 assists in Valley play.

    Cartaesha Macklin and Dyana Pierre have really come on strong for the Salukis in the last four weeks as the regular season comes to a close. Macklin has averaged 18.3 points and 5.3 assists per game in Southern’s last seven games while Pierre has posted four double-doubles and averaged 10.0 points and 10.7 rebounds in the same stretch. Macklin is up to third in the MVC in scoring and first in assists while Pierre has taken over as the conference’s rebounding leader in the last week.

    Freshman guard Rishonda Napier moved into SIU’s top 10 freshman scoring list by scoring eight points last Friday night against Bradley. The Burbank, Calif., native sits in ninth on the list with 305 points so far this season. She sits one point shy of No. 8 Connie Erickson who scored 306 as a freshman in 1979-80.