Head Coach Lori Opp Will Make Her Debut As Salukis Open Season At Illinois-Chicago

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    November 16, 2000

    Havana, Ill., native Lori Opp will make her debut as head coach of the Southern Illinois University women's basketball team Saturday when the Salukis travel to Chicago, Ill., to open their 2000-01 season against the University of Illinois-Chicago at 3 p.m.

    Opp, who served as the Salukis' assistant coach/recruiting coordinator for the past two seasons, marks the sixth head coach in the program's 41-year history.

    Although SIU won last year's battle with UIC rather convincingly (62-46), both teams appear to be evenly matched for this weekend's bout. Senior Terica Hathaway, who is expected to be a threat for the Salukis again this season, enters the 2000-01 year needing just 123 points to reach the 1,000-point mark in her career. Joining forces with Hathaway in the backcourt/perimeter game are sophomore Molly McDowell and junior Holly Teague. McDowell led the Salukis in both steals (39) and assists (82) last season while Teague will make her first appearance as a Saluki since joining SIU from Three Rivers Community College. Senior Kristine Abramowski and sophomore Katie Berwanger will also be relied on heavily for Saturday's matchup. Abramowski averaged 6.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game last season while Berwanger contributed solid play off the bench.

    Illinois-Chicago, on the other hand, returns every starter from a year ago. Senior Kimberly Henry, who was named the Midwestern Collegiate Conference's Newcomer-of-the-Year, spearheads the Flame' attack after leading UIC in scoring last season with an average of 13.6 points per game. Also highlighting the Flames' array of talent is senior Melea Clark who finished a close second behind Henry scoring 12.4 points per game while shooting a team-leading .410 from three-point range.

    Southern Illinois will look to extinguish the Flames for the fourth consecutive time Saturday, as the overall series stands at 8-4 in favor of the Salukis. The last time the two teams met was Nov. 29, 1999, at SIU Arena where the Dawgs came away with a 62-46 victory. Interestingly enough, SIU will go after its fourth win on the Flames' homecourt as the Dawgs are currently 3-1 at the UIC Pavilion.

    Other Notes for Saturday's matchup:

    • Junior guard Kim Holloway, now with Illinois-Chicago, will face her former Southern Illinois University teammates for the first time since she left the Salukis in April. Holloway, who suffered injuries most of her career at SIU, decided to leave the squad for personal reasons. A year ago, Holloway was the Salukis? starting point guard who played in 19 games before her season was cut short due to a fractured wrist. In addition, she played in just 29 career games for the Salukis averaging 2.7 points per game.

    • Forwards Danielle Lawary and Courtney Smith were cleared to practice at full strength Tuesday after both sat out the exhibition season. Lawary had been suffering an achilles tendon strain in her left heel while Smith was out with a stress fracture in her left tibia.