Salukis hit I-57 to take on Illinois on Thursday

    Sophomore Dyana Pierre currently averages a double-double (14.0 points, 10.3 rebounds).

    Sophomore Dyana Pierre currently averages a double-double (14.0 points, 10.3 rebounds).
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    Nov. 20, 2013

    Southern Illinois (0-3) at Illinois (4-1)
     Date Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013
     Time 7 p.m. CT
     Location Champaign, Ill. - State Farm Center (16,618)

    Fighting Illini All-Access/Big Ten Digital (pay)


    Saluki Sports Network

     Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader | Illinois Get Acrobat Reader | MVC
     Season Stats Southern Illinois | Illinois | MVC
     Live Stats Gametracker | Mobile Stats
     Social Media @SIU_WBasketball

    By Tyler Wooten

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Saluki women's basketball will reignite an old rivalry with the University of Illinois on Thursday night, with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m. at the State Farm Center.

    Southern Illinois Salukis (0-3)
    Head Coach:
    Cindy Stein • First Season • 282-209 overall (17th season) • 0-3 at SIU

    Illinois Fighting Illini (4-1)
    Head Coach:
    Matt Bollant • Second Season • 305-70 overall (12th season) • 23-15 at Illinois

    Radio Information
    Bryce Williams (second season)
    Color Commentary: Logan Lee (first season)
    Station: WHET 97.7 FM (available on Saluki All-Access)

    Southern leads the all-time series against the Illini 21-12, but the Salukis have dropped four straight dating back to 1994. The series itself began in 1962, when the Illini took the first matchup 54-15. From there, the Salukis -- under the leadership of legendary coach Charlotte West -- didn't lose again until 1971. Southern last defeated Illinois at home on Dec. 11, 1993, 69-65, and the last time SIU won in Champaign was the previous season on Dec. 13, 1992, by a final of 74-70. Of the 32 games in the series history, 12 games have been within 10 points. The largest Saluki margin of victory came on Nov. 23, 1991, when the Salukis handled the Illini 73-48. That same season SIU advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the last season the Salukis were in the Big Dance.

    ILLINOIS 63, SIU 53 -- NOV. 18 2007
    The Salukis started out hot on an 11-5 run to open the game, but Jenna Smith and the Illini were too much for Southern to handle. Illinois ended up with a 29-18 lead at halftime, with 13 of their first-half points coming off free throws. Southern fought back to come within one early on in the second half, but foul trouble doomed the Salukis. Leading the Salukis was Jayme Sweere with 15 points.

    The Illini shattered the record books against Alcorn State, destroying the Lady Braves 112-28 in Champaign on Sunday night. Illinois broke the single-game scoring record, single-game margin of victory (86), and it helped push Illinois to 384 points in its first four games -- the most to open the season in school history. Seven Illini players scored in double figures, including 25 by Amber Moore. Alcorn State broke the State Farm Center records for fewest points in a half (10) and worst field goal percentage (15.21 percent).

    The Salukis were able to hang in the game against IPFW with their two best players on the bench for most of the first half, but Amanda Hyde and the Mastodons were too hot to handle for Southern as it fell 79-62 on Monday night at the Gates Sports Center. Junior guard Cartaesha Macklin passed the 1,000 career point milestone and Dyana Pierre nabbed her 11th career double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds), but the Salukis couldn't stay out of foul trouble, nor could they hit their own free throws when it was their turn. Southern was 8-of-20 from the charity stripe, as opposed to IPFW's absurd 20-of-22 mark. After scoring 43 against the Salukis in 2012, IPFW's Amanda Hyde once again put the Mastodons on her back. Hyde scored 19 of her 24 points in the second half and sank all eight of her free throw attempts.

    Junior guard Cartaesha Macklin scored 12 points on Monday night versus IPFW, which made her the 28th player in school history to surpass the 1,000 career point milestone. Macklin entered the game with 992 career points and passed the milestone with a three-pointer with 9:46 left to play in the second half. At 1,004 career points, Macklin now sits 89 points away from cracking the top-20.

    Cartaesha Macklin went 10-of-11 from the charity stripe against the Lady Govs for half of her point total on Nov. 12 against Austin Peay. In her time at Southern, Macklin has been no stranger to the free throw line. In 64 games at SIU she's made 301 free throws in 411 tries, which ranks third and fourth all-time at SIU, respectively.

    Although sophomore center Dyana Pierre went 3-of-9 from the free throw line against the Mastodons on Monday, she continued her excellent shooting streak from the field, going 7-for-10 in field goals. Through three games, Pierre is 20-of-28 from the field for a percentage of 75 percent -- currently the best mark from in the Missouri Valley Conference.

    Walk-on sophomore Hannah Shores has made her presence known in the first three games of the 2013-14 season. Shores, a native of nearby Centralia, Ill., has notched 6.7 points in 19.3 minutes per game so far this season. Shores earned her first career start at IPFW on Nov. 18, where she played 23 minutes and scored a career-high nine points. She is currently 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, which constitutes as the best current mark in the MVC.

    As a team, though, SIU has not been consistent from the free-throw line. After a significant improvement from the Wright State game (3-13) to the Austin Peay matchup (18-24), Southern sunk back into its free-throw shooting woes with an 8-of-20 mark from the charity stripe against IPFW on Monday. On the season, SIU is shooting 50.9 percent on its free throw attempts against 69 percent from its opponents.

    Turnovers have plagued the Salukis thus far in 2013-14, as they have averaged 19.0 turnovers opposed to the 11.3 they have forced on opponents. It was the difference against APSU, which scored 24 points of SIU turnovers en route to a dramatic 71-69 victory in the final second -- thanks in large part to costly Saluki turnovers down the stretch. It was more of the same against IPFW on Nov. 18, when the Mastodons scored 23 points off Saluki turnovers against 11 points SIU scored off IPFW missteps.

    Sophomores Dyana Pierre (12 pts., 15 rebs.) and Rishonda Napier (13 pts., 10 rebs.) both posted a double-double against Wright State on Nov. 8 which is only the fourth time in the last year that the Salukis have had two double-doubles in the same game. In 2012-13, Southern did so thrice -- including two times in the month of December. Pierre also earned her 11th career double-double at IPFW on Nov. 18 (17 points, 10 rebounds).

    The trip to Champaign will be a familiar one for head coach Cindy Stein, who played (1981-83) and coached at Illlinois (1993-95) during her basketball career. Stein was an integral part of the 1982 Illini women's basketball squad that made it to the NCAA Tournament -- the first women's team in school history to do so. Stein still holds a place in the Illinois record books, where she ranks eighth all-time in assists (323), second and fifth all-time in single-season assists (170 and 153), and tied for 13th all-time in single game assists (13). As an assistant coach, Stein served under head coach with Kathy Lindsey (1990-95). Stein received her bachelor's in physical education from Illinois in 1983.

    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.