Women's Basketball Seeks Second Straight Win As They Gear Up To Face Bradley

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    January 30, 2001

    SIU OPENS SECOND HALF OF LEAGUE SCHEDULE IN TV GAME VS. BRADLEY . . . Southern Illinois will kick off the second half of its Missouri Valley Conference schedule Wednesday, Jan. 31, when the Salukis play host to the visiting Bradley Braves at 7:05 p.m. The matchup, which will be broadcasted live on WSIU/WUSI-TV, ends a lengthy three-game homestand for the Dawgs.

    IT FEELS GOOD . . . SIU's victory over Illinois State not only snapped a six-game losing streak, but it marked the Salukis' first win in exactly 22 days. In addition, it marked the Dawgs' fifth in their last six meetings with the Redbirds as both teams currently stand with 2-7 league records.

    MOVIN' ON UP . . . As of Monday, Jan. 29, Southern Illinois has moved up two spots in the Missouri Valley Conference standings. Sitting in last place in the Valley prior to their win over Illinois State, the Salukis are now in eighth place with a 2-7 league mark. Illinois State (2-7) then follows in ninth while Bradley holds the 10th spot (1-8) as all three teams continue to battle for a conference tournament berth.

    GOING FOR TWO IN A ROW . . . In Wednesday's game against Bradley, SIU will look to get its second consecutive win over an opponent for the first time this season. Despite their inconsistency to put together some kind of a winning streak this season, the eighth-place Salukis have regained momentum and look to carry that over in their battle with the Braves.

    ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT . . . In 18 games this season Southern Illinois has struggled at SIU Arena where the Salukis are just 2-6 on the year. SIU's win over Illinois State, however, couldn't have come at a better time as it marked the Dawgs' first home win since December 19, 2000, when the Salukis defeated Tennessee-Martin, 74-67.

    SALUKI REWIND . . . Senior Terica Hathaway scored 20 points while freshman Jodi Heiden pitched in a career-high 18 to lead Southern Illinois University to a 70-55 win over Illinois State Saturday at SIU Arena. SIU scored the final 11 points of the game from the free throw line to pull away from Illinois State as the Redbirds missed their last 11 field goal attempts after hitting 11-of-19 in the first 15 minutes of the second half. The Salukis, however, didn't take the game away from the Birds until the second half when they took advantage of repeated trips to the free throw line to knock down 18-of-20 to ISU's 4-of-6. Fouls also went in SIU's favor as the Dawgs were whistled for just five compared to the Redbirds' 15. Hathaway was 9-of-17 from the field and a perfect 2-of-2 from the free throw line while Heiden was a near-perfect 6-of-7 from both the field and the foul line. Also posting double figures for the Salukis were Molly McDowell and Holly Teague who each had 12.

    SERIES HISTORY VS. BRADLEY . . . SIU and Bradley have met 38 times dating back to 1983 when the series first began. Since then, the Salukis have compiled an overall record of 36-2 (.947) against the Braves as their win total (36) ranks tied for third in most wins in a series. Winning 27 consecutive games from 1983-95 to open the series, SIU strung together its best win streak over any opponent faced in school history. Now, on a eight-game winning streak against the Braves, the Salukis will seek their ninth as SIU hasn?t lost to Bradley since December 31, 1996 (66-69, OT).

    BATTLE OF THE FIRST-YEAR COACHES . . . Southern Illinois University head coach Lori Opp (Western Illinois '88) 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.

    Peoria, Ill., native Paula Buscher (SW Missouri, '86) is also in her first year as head coach of the Bradley University women's basketball program. Formerly an assistant coach at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Buscher gained her first head coaching position at Minnesota State-Mankato in 1997. At Mankato, Buscher took over a team that was 7-20 before her arrival and a program that had not managed a winning season since the 1993-94 campaign. In her only season at Minnesota State-Mankato, Buscher guided the Mavericks to a 17-10 mark. Following her term at MS-Mankato, Buscher returned the very next season to Nebraska-Omaha where she spent nine years as an assistant coach helping the Mavericks to a 10-17 season before two 15-win seasons in her second and final years at the school.

    SCOUTING THE BRAVES . . . Losing eight of its last nine games and currently on a two-game losing streak, Bradley University enters Wednesday's matchup in last place in the MVC with an overall record of 6-11, 1-8. Sporting a starting lineup of five guards no taller than 5'-11", the Braves are led by junior Sara Bailey who averages 19.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Following Bailey in the scoring column is senior Jennifer Jolley who scores 14.0 points while grabbing 6.0 rebounds. Senor Marti Davis and junior Lora Weber then round out the top four scoring threats for the Braves this season. Davis is averaging 9.2 points while Weber is pitching in 6.5.

    ABOUT THE SALUKIS . . . Southern Illinois moved from 10th to eighth place in the Valley this week after its 70-55 win over Illinois State. The win, which snapped a six-game losing streak for the Salukis marked their second at home this season as they set to open the second half of their conference season Wednesday against Bradley. Currently standing at 5-13 overall, 2-7 in the MVC, the Dawgs are led by sophomore Molly McDowell and senior Terica Hathaway. McDowell, who has posted double figures in 12 straight games, leads SIU with an average of 14.8, 3.1 rebounds per game while Hathaway follows with 12.9 points, 5.9 boards. Averaging 16.8 points in conference games alone, McDowell also leads the team in steals with 44 and is second in assists with 60. Also coming on strong outings are freshman Jodi Heiden and junior Holly Teague. Heiden scored a career-high 18 points against the Redbirds while Teague netted 12.

    LAST TIME AROUND . . . Sophomore guard Stacey Byrd missed two free throws with 7.5 seconds left as Bradley University fell to Southern Illinois 63-62 earlier this season at Robertson Field House. SIU's Molly McDowell fouled sending Byrd to the free throw line with 7.5 ticks left, but Byrd missed on both tries. Needing to just hold onto the ball and run the clock out, however, the Salukis turned the ball over to give the Braves yet another chance to win the game with 6.1 seconds. After inbounding the ball, Bradley's Sara Bailey fired a three that missed, but teammate Jennifer Jolly rebounded and missed on a wide open layup at the buzzer that caught the bottom of the rim. Senior Terica Hathaway led the Dawgs with 22 points while McDowell added 18.

    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.

    FLYING HEI . . . Freshman Jodi Heiden came off the bench to score both a season and career-high 18 points to lead SIU in its win over Illinois State. Heiden, who is averaging 14 minutes a game, netted 6-of-7 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free throw line in 30 minutes of action. In addition, she pulled down a season-best eight rebounds, dished out two assists, and added one block. Heiden's 18 points also marked the second time this season she has scored in double figures.

    GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY . . . Sophomore Molly McDowell has been on fire for the Salukis as of late posting back-to-back career marks in two of the Salukis' last six games. Against nationally-ranked SW Missouri, McDowell shot 10-of-20 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line for a career-high 28 points. She then turned around two nights later and connected on 6-of-13 from the field and 17-of-19 from the foul line to score another career-high 29 points against Wichita State. In SIU's latest venture versus Indiana State, however, McDowell scored 12 points on 4-of-11 from the field and a perfect 2-of-2 from the free throw line.

    STREAKIN' . . . SIU's leading scorer in Molly McDowell is currently on a double-figure scoring streak. McDowell, who has posted double digits in points in all but two games this season, has scored 10 or more in 12 straight games while averaging 14.8 per contest.

    1,000 AND COUNTING . . . After clearing the 1,000-point plateau in SIU's 63-62 win over Bradley, senior Terica Hathaway is still going as her 233 points this season list second on the team. Sporting a three-year total of 877 points prior to this season, Hathaway now stands with 1,110 points in her career.

    THIRD TIME'S A CHARM . . . Senior Terica Hathaway scored a team-high 20 points on 9-of-17 from the field and a perfect 2-of-2 from the free throw line against Illinois State. Also collecting six rebounds, one assist, and one steal as well, her 20-point performance marked the third time this season she has scored 20 or more points.

    NO BLOOD, NO FOUL . . . SIU committed 10 fouls to Illinois State's 20 in its 70-55 win over the Redbirds. Whistled for just five in the second half, the Salukis cashed in on the Redbirds' 15 and as a result, hit 18-of-20 from the free throw line while ISU hit 4-of-6. Shooting 91 percent from the free throw line, the Salukis also scored their last 11 points of the game all from the charity stripe to pull away from the Redbirds.

    HOW MAY I ASSIST YOU? . . . Point guard Holly Teague currently reigns as SIU's leader in assists with 72 on the year. Averaging four per game, Teague is tied for fourth in the MVC. Along with her number of dishes, Teague also ranks tied for third in steals with 21 as her overall assist to turnover ratio stands at 72 to 87 on the season.

    ON THE REBOUND . . . Southern Illinois holds a 698-684 advantage over its opponents in rebounding this season. Averaging 38.8 rebounds per game, the Salukis have garnered the top spot in the Missouri Valley Conference in rebounding offense on four occasions this season.

    TALE OF TWO HALVES . . . Southern Illinois is currenlty being outscored by its opponents in both the first and second halves. In 18 games, the Salukis have been outscored by their opponents 615-537 in the first half while falling behind 700-680 in the second stanza as well.

    NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION . . . Averaging nearly 22 turnovers per game prior to the turn of the new year, SIU has seen that number drop to 20. Although that number may still seem high, SIU has averaged as low as 14.3 turnovers in three of its last seven games with a season-low of 14 on two of those three occasions.

    UP NEXT . . . SIU will hit the road for a tough three-game trip beginning at Northern Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 4 (12:35 p.m.). The Salukis will then head to Springfield, Mo., to take on SW Missouri on Friday, Feb. 9 at 7:05 p.m., before concluding at Wichita State on Sun., Feb. 11, at 2 p.m