SIU takes on Missouri State in opening round of MVC Tournament

    Jordyn Courier is fifth in SIU history with 108 career 3-pointers.

    Jordyn Courier is fifth in SIU history with 108 career 3-pointers.
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    March 12, 2014

    MVC Tournament Round 1 -- Southern Illinois (5-24, 3-15) vs. Missouri State (13-16, 8-10)
     Date March 13, 2014
     Time 7 p.m. CST
     Location St. Charles, Mo. -- The Family Arena (10.467)
     VideoValley Live with RC McBride (PBP) and Laura Leonard (Analysis)
     Radio Saluki Sports Network | 97.7 FM (Carbondale) | Saluki All-Access
     Notes Southern Illinois | Missouri State | MVC
     Season Stats Southern Illinois | Missouri State | MVC
     Live Stats Valley Scoreboard
     Social Media @SIU_WBasketball  | Facebook 

    The Southern Illinois women's basketball team opens the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament with a game against Missouri State at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 13 in St. Charles, Mo. The Salukis are trying to win its opening game in the MVC Tournament for a second-straight year after topping Evansville 83-75 last year in overtime. Southern is facing Missouri State in the MVC tournament for the first time since dropping a 73-58 decision in the 1998-99 season, in which Director of Basketball Operations Julie Beck was the head coach. Dating back to the Gateway Conference Tournament, SIU is 0-4 all-time against Missouri State in the conference tournament.

    Southern Illinois trails the all-time series with Missouri State 45-26 in a series that dates back to 1978. The Salukis lost both games to Missouri State this year, falling 76-58 in Springfield, Mo., and 93-78 in Carbondale. The last win for SIU over Missouri State came on Jan. 19, 2012, at SIU Arena.

    Missouri State tied with Illinois State for sixth in the MVC after posting an 8-10 conference record. MSU started 7-5 in conference play before losing five of its last six games. Leading scorer Kenzie Williams, who averaged 14.8 points per game, suffered an ACL injury during a game against Loyola and is out for the rest of the season.

    The Lady Bears are led by sisters Tyonna and Bry Snow. Tyonna leads the team, averaging 13.6 points per game, while Bry averages 11.4 points and a team-leading 5.6 rebounds per game. Tyonna has recorded 86 steals, which leads the MVC.

    The Missouri State Lady Bears lost to MVC co-champion Wichita State in the last game of the regular season on Sunday, 93-56. The Shockers took control of the game with a 16-2 run midway through the first half and led the Lady Bears by 19 points at halftime. MSU committed a season-high 27 turnovers in the loss. Hannah Wilkerson led MSU and tied a career high with 14 points.

    The Last Meeting
    Missouri State93
    Southern Illinois76
    February 27, 2014
    Carbondale, Ill.
    SIU Offense Comes to Life but Salukis Fall to Missouri State, 93-76
    The Southern Illinois women's basketball team shook off a season worth of offensive frustration but ran out of gas in an up-and-down battle with Missouri State. The Salukis lost 93-76 at SIU Arena despite 27 points and 18 rebounds from Dyana Pierre and a career-high 21 points from Jordyn Courier.

    Southern Illinois played a back-and-forth first half at Bradley on Saturday before trailing by three points at halftime. SIU tied the game at 46 early in the second half, but Bradley responded with a 19-5 run to take control of the game. Dyana Pierre led SIU with a game-high 27 points.

    Dyana Pierre was named a first-team All-Conference selection, the conference announced Wednesday. Pierre is the first first-team All-MVC selection for SIU since Carlai Moore earned first-team honors in 2006-07 and only the second first-team selection for SIU since 2000.

    In 2013-14, the sophomore center ranked first in the conference in double-doubles (12), first in rebounding (9.5), first in 10+ rebound games (13), first in offensive rebounds (4.1), third in blocks (1.5), fifth in field goal percentage (.503), fourth in defensive rebounding (5.4), seventh in 20-point games (7), eighth in the conference in scoring (14.3), and 10th in minutes played (31.4). In rebounding, Pierre led the conference by 58 total rebounds.

    Dyana Pierre earned an MVC Player of the Week nod for her performance in two games last weekend. After posting 27 points and 18 rebounds on Thursday against Missouri State, Pierre put up 23 points and 15 rebounds in SIU's win over Wichita State on Saturday. Pierre became the first MVC player in at least 18 years to post back-to-back 20-point, 15-rebound games. She shot 20-for-35 (57 percent) on the weekend and had more rebounds by halftime of each game (8) than any member of the opposing teams had in the entirety of either game.

    Pierre became the first SIU player to earn MVC Player of the Week since Teri Oliver on Jan. 23, 2012. She is the 12th player in school history to earn the honor and just the fourth in the last decade.

    The Salukis have outrebounded their opponents in four of their last five games. In that span, Southern has outrebounded its opponents by an average of 7.6 rebounds per game. SIU had a +12 rebound margin in an upset win over Wichita State. The Salukis have dominated the offensive boards in that span, averaging 16.8 offensive rebound per game over the last five games. SIU has recorded double-figure offensive rebounds in 11 of the last 12 games, including 20 or more in two of the last four games.

    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 5.1 points per game. She has started the last 12 games for SIU and scored nine or more points in seven of those games. She is averaging 8.7 points per game in that span and led the team in scoring twice. In those 12-straight starts, Courier ranks second on the team in scoring. She ranks fifth in SIU history with 107 career 3-pointers.

    Dyana Pierre HITS 500-500 CLUB
    Dyana Pierre became the 20th player in SIU history in the 500-point, 500-rebound club against Missouri State. Pierre has 625 points and 544 rebounds in her 59-game SIU career. She is only the third Saluki player since 2001 to join the 500-500 club.

    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.

    Dyana Pierre is the MVC leader with 12 double-doubles in 28 games. She is also the active career double-double leader with 21 double-doubles. In two years at SIU, Pierre's 21 double-doubles are two more than Agenette Sumrall for most of any SIU player since MVC play started in 1993-94. Sumrall had 19 double-doubles in 1993-94 and 1994-95.

    Pierre has put up some impressive numbers in several games. Against Bradley, Pierre put up 33 points and 18 rebounds, including eight offensive boards. She had 27 points and 18 rebounds against Missouri State and followed it up with 23 points and 15 rebounds in the very next game. Her two 20-point, 15-rebound double-doubles matched the other nine MVC teams combined this season.

    In 29 games this year, Pierre has scored in double-figures 20 times and has recorded double-digit rebounds an MVC-leading 13 times. Since Valley play began in 1993-94, only 22 players in conference history have recorded 15 or more double-doubles. Pierre is the active MVC leader with 21 and is tied for 13th on the MVC's all-time list.

    Pierre is also one of the top rebounders in the MVC. At 9.5 rebounds per game, Pierre leads the conference in rebounding and has the most 10+ rebound games of any player in the MVC with 13. In MVC-only play, Pierre leads the conference in rebounding at 9.9 rebounds per game.

    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 she has 44 for the 2013-14 season, which ranks third on the school's single-season list. Combined, Pierre's 80 career blocks already rank sixth in school history, and she is just three blocks away from third-place on the school's all-time career list.

    As a freshman in 2012-13, Pierre ranked sixth in school history with 277 rebounds. She has 276 rebounds so far this season, which ranks eighth on the school's all-time list. With one more rebound, Pierre will tie her freshman season and Bonnie Foley's 1977-78 season for sixth on the school's single-season list, and 12 more rebounds will tie Sue Faber's 1978-79 season for fifth on the school's all-time list.

    Mercedes 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 50 in MVC play (2.8 per game). Griffin has picked up her scoring, too. After scoring in double-figures once in the first 13 games this season, Griffin scored in double-figures seven times in MVC play, including a career-best 17 points at Illinois State.

    Mercedes Griffin has picked up more than one steal in 12 of the last 16 games. After averaging .8 steals per game in the first 12 games of the season, Griffin has picked up 32 steals in the last 14 games (2.3 per game). In 18 conference games, Griffin averages 1.9 steals per contest. Griffin had five steals against both Evansville and Wichita State, and she picked up four more at Loyola.

    In a wild game that involved nine lead changes and seven ties, the Saluki women's basketball team came out on top of a roller coaster double-overtime spectacle over Bradley, 100-96, on Jan. 2 at the SIU Arena. After tying the game to send it to overtime, and allowing Bradley to tie the game in the first overtime, the Salukis finally pulled out a victory over the Braves on a game-winning layup by Mercedes Griffin with 14.4 seconds left and a crucial defensive stop on the ensuing BU possession. Southern got phenomenal career performances out of Dyana Pierre (33 points, 18 rebounds) and Azia Washington (27 points, 15 rebounds), but it was the late bench play of freshmen Carlie Corrigan and Kim Nebo that ended up being vital to the Saluki victory.

    Southern Illinois got its second win of the conference season on Sunday afternoon against Evansville at SIU Arena. Dyana Pierre posted 24 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Salukis from a five-point halftime deficit to a nine-point victory.

    Southern Illinois snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 64-59 win over first-place Wichita State on March 1. SIU outrebounded the Shockers by double-figures while posting its third-lowest turnover total and third-highest assist total of the year. SIU tooks its first lead of the game will less than four minutes remaining and held on for the win.

    Southern made several improvements from the 2012-13 campaign in head coach Cindy Stein's first year as the team's head coach. The Salukis won three conference games this year, which was a two-win improvement from a year ago. The team's scoring defense was improved 2.8 points per game, and the team's field goal percentage defense improved from ninth to sixth in the league. The team's 3-point percentage defense improved two spots from eighth to sixth. Most notably, the team's rebounding margin improved from -5.3 boards per game to +0.2, going from 10th in the league last year to fourth this year.

    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 8.7 points over the last 12 games, leading the team in scoring twice in that span. • 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 (12) and 10-rebound games (13). 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 10.2 points per game and 6.5 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 Salukis are 7-16 all time in the MVC Tournament since it started in 1993. SIU won three of its first five games in the tournament and won at least one game in four of the first five years. After that, SIU lost 10 of its next 11 Tournament games before its first-round win last year.

    In the Gateway Tournament from 1983-92, SIU posted a 9-4 record and won the tournament twice. Combined, Southern is 16-20 in the Conference Tournament. Southern Illinois is trying to win a game in the MVC Tournament in back-to-back years for the first time since winning first-game matchups in three-straight years from 1995-97.

    The Salukis are 0-4 all-time against Missouri State in the MVC Tournament, with the last game coming in 1999. SIU and Missouri State have matched up twice in the MVC Tournament and twice in the Gateway Conference Tournament.

    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.