SIU Women's Basketball Sets to Take on Missouri

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    December 8, 2000

    SALUKIS' NON-CONFERENCE RUN GETS TOUGHER AS SIU HEADS TO COLUMBIA, MO. . . . Southern Illinois University Carbondale will take to the road for its fifth road game this season when the Salukis travel to Columbia, Mo., to take on the University of Missouri Saturday at 7 p.m. SIU, who surprisingly sports a better record in away games this season at 1-2, has lost its last four-of-five games, two of which were on the Salukis' homecourt.

    THE SERIES . . . The first meeting between SIU and Missouri took place in 1976 , with both teams squaring off eight times since then. The Salukis lead the overall series 5-4, with a 2-3 mark at SIU Arena. The last time both teams went head-to-head was last season when the Tigers downed the Salukis 61-66 (12/7/99) in Carbondale, Ill.

    A GLIMPSE AT LAST YEAR'S CONTEST . . . The Southern Illinois University Carbondale women's basketball team was edged 66-61 by visiting Big 12 foe the University of Missouri in last season's matchup at SIU Arena. Kristine Abramowski paced SIU by shooting 56 from the field en route to posting a double-double scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.Teammate Melaniece Bardley added 15 points, nine boards, while freshman LaToya Graves added a game-high five assists. Coming back from a 28-25 setback in the first half, the Salukis extended a three-point lead over the Tigers three times in the first four minutes of the second stanza. However, it wasn't long before Missouri regained the lead at the 12:19 mark. From there, the Tigers landed 7-of-13 field goals, extending the game's biggest point margin to seven. With the help of SIU's Melaniece Bardley, who shot 60 percent from the field, the Salukis were able to close in and tie the game for the last time at 53-53 with 4:18 remaining. Four consecutive free throws by Missouri's Amanda Lassiter, and a trey by Kerensa Barr again put the Tigers ahead, 60-55. The Salukis made up ground though, despite converting on just 4-of-9 shots from the line to bring the score to 61-59. But SIU's chances of recording its third win of the season were cut short by the Tigers, who nearly doubled SIU's free throw percentage with :27 left, to roll to a 66-61 win. The trio of junior Amanda Lassiter, junior Tracy Franklin and senior Amy Monsees led Missouri's efforts. Lassiter and Franklin recorded 13 points apiece, while Monsees chipped in 11. Junior Marelena Williams had a solid game inside pulling down a game-high 13 boards for the Tigers.

    THE COACHES . . . Southern Illinois University head coach Lori Opp (Western Illinois Oe88) is in her first season at the helm of the Saluki women's basketball program. Opp (Havana Ill.), who was named head coach in August, spent the last two seasons as the Salukis' assistant coach/recruiting coordinator. Prior to SIU, Opp served as a graduate assistant coach at Western Illinois (1988-90) and an assistant coach at Eastern Illinois (1990-93), Indiana State (1994-95), and Murray State (1995-98). With over 11 years of Division I coaching experience, Opp brings an unlimited amount of knowledge and enthusiasm to this year's squad as she is now the sixth head coach in the program's 41-year history.

    Cindy Stein (Illinois '84) has brought an up-tempo style of play to women's basketball at the University of Missouri. Stein, who is in her third year as head coach at Mizzou, guided the Tigers to a record-breaking season a year ago. Last season, the Tigers re-wrote the record books finishing the year with an 18-12 mark which was Missouri's winningest term since 1992-93. Under the direction of Stein, the Tigers also jumped two spots at the Big 12 Championships to post a seventh-place finish (7-9) despite being predicted to finish ninth prior to the 1999-2000 campaign. Stein currently holds an overall record of 36-28 thus far in her tenure at Missouri.

    ABOUT THE SALUKIS . . . SIU enters Saturday's matchup with the Tigers coming off a disappointing 74-57 loss to DePaul. The loss marked both the Salukis' fourth in their last five games and second consecutive at home. Senior guard Terica Hathaway leads all SIU scorers this season as she is only one of two players averaging double digits on the year. Hathaway, who is averaging 14.2 points per contest, also ranks third in assists (13), second in steals (11) and is tied for first in rebounds per game (5.7). Following Hathaway in the scoring column this season is sophomore Molly McDowell who is averaging 12.0 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Also the team's leader in steals with 15, McDowell lists second in assists (17) and first in three-point percentage shooting .615.

    SCOUTING THE TIGERS . . . The Tigers are off to an identical 5-1 start from where they were at this time last season. At the beginning of the 1999-2000 campaign, Missouri's 5-1 early season run helped ignite a nine-game winning streak. Recently coming off back-to-back wins over Lipscomb (96-43) and San Diego State (89-69), it appears as if the Tigers may do that again. Senior Amanda Lassiter, last year's Big 12 Newcomer-of-the-Year, spearheads Missouri's charge averaging team highs in both points (19.0) and rebounds (9.3) per game. Lassiter is joined by two others in Tracy Franklin and Marlena Williams who are also scoring in double figures this season. Franklin is averaging 13.2 points per game while Williams is tossing in 11.2. As a team, the Tigers are outscoring their opponents 524-358 while averaging 87.3 points per game. In addition, just one point proved to be the difference in the Tigers' only loss this season which came at the hands of Pepperdine (69-68) November 26.

    SALUKIS TABBED EIGHTH IN THE VALLEY'S PRESEASON POLL . . . Southern Illinois was voted eighth in this year's Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll which is exactly where the Salukis finished last season after its 5-13 performance in league play. SIU received 102 votes to just beat Illinois State (101) for the eighth spot. Southwest Missouri State was picked the league favorite for the second time in the past three years and fourth in the last six to win the conference. Drake, who won the MVC title outright a year ago, was then picked second while Evansville was chosen third rounding out the top three in this year's poll.

    ON THE REBOUND . . . Despite being pummeled on the glass, 49-29, in Wednesday's loss to DePaul, Southern Illinois still holds a 248-231 advantage over their opponents. Averaging 41.3 rebounds per game, SIU has been most effective on the boards in the second half, where the Dawgs have gathered 125 of their 248 rebounds. Prior to Wednesday's loss SIU stood atop the Missouri Valley Conference in rebounding offense (43.8), and second in rebounding margin (+7.7).

    FA-TEAGUED . . . Junior point guard Holly Teague has been quiet in the Salukis' last two games failing to make a three-pointer in her last eight attempts. Teague who is averaging 8.2 points per game on the year, has been shaky handling the ball as well turning the ball over for a team high 19 times this season.

    TALE OF TWO HALVES . . . Southern Illinois has been an entirely different team in the second half this season as opposed to the first. In six games, the Salukis have been outscored by their opponents 208-192 in the first half, but have made a dramatic turnaround in the second stanza to stay on top of their opponents 225-203.

    A THREE FOR ALL BRAWL . . . In Wednesday's game against DePaul, Southern Illinois went 0-of-7 from three-point range. The Blue Demons, however, did not as they picked apart SIU's zone defense to outscore the Salukis 30-0 on 10-of-25 shooting.

    HOW MAY I ASSIST YOU? . . . As of December 4, Southern Illinois ranked third in assists in the Missouri Valley Conference for the second consecutive week. Averaging 14.5 per game, the Salukis have compiled 87 on the season which stand behind league-leading Evansville (18.00) and second place Southwest Missouri (15.67). Junior Holly Teague leads the Salukis in dishes with 25 while Molly McDowell lists second (17) and Terica Hathaway ranks third (13).

    CLOSING IN ON 1,000 . . . After scoring 12 points, senior Terica Hathaway moved to within 38 points of reaching the 1,000-point mark in her career. Hathaway connected on 6-of-17 field goals against the Blue Demons while grabbing five rebounds. She also added three assists, one block and one steal. Hathaway has scored double figures in all six of the Salukis' games this season.

    TOLBERT MAKING SOME NOISE . . . Freshman Angela Tolbert scored a season high 17 points connecting on 6-of-10 from the field and 5-of-7 from the free throw line in Wednesday's loss to DePaul. Tolbert, a rookie out of Hamilton, Ohio, stands as the Salukis' third leading scorer averaging 8.5 points per game this season. Averaging just 18.2 minutes per contest, Tolbert also has four assists, two blocks, and five steals off the bench this season.

    ONE IS THE LONLIEST NUMBER . . . After dominating opponents on the defensive glass by a 158-137 margin, SIU has gathered 90 boards to its opponents 94 on the offensive end. In the Salukis' loss to DePaul, SIU was silenced to just one offensive rebound in the first half as they were out-boarded 8-1. For the game, the Salukis mustered just five offensive rebounds while DePaul gathered 20.

    SUSPENDED . . . Sophomore guard Lynn Morancie has been suspended until Monday, Dec. 11 for disciplinary reasons. SIU head coach Lori Opp, who would not elaborate on the details of the suspension, did say however, that Morancie will not be with the team for this weekend's game against Missouri.

    INJURY REPORT . . . Sophomore Katie Berwanger did not have to undergo reconstructive knee surgery, but did get laser surgery instead. Following the surgery, it was stated that there is a 20% tear in Berwanger's ACL, MCL and lateral meniscus. At this point, the outlook on Berwanger is that she is to do rehab and it is most likely that she will not return for the rest of the season. Freshman Jennifer Wegley, who was suffering from a concussion, is back practicing with the team and will be eligible for Saturday's game in Columbia, Mo. Senior Courtney Smith is also back practicing after suffering a stress fracture in her left tibia. Smith, who had been expected to not return until the conference season, played eight minutes in Wednesday's game with DePaul.