Dec. 2, 2002
Tis the Season to Be Traveling
Southern Illinois will take to the road for the entire month of December beginning Wednesday when it plays at Tennessee State (6 p.m.). After their game with the Tigers, the Salukis will visit Eastern Illinois (7:10 p.m.) on Saturday, Dec. 7.
Prior to the 2001-02 season, there were only two Ohio Valley Conference schools SIU had never faced, and one was Tennessee State. Last year, however, marked the first time both teams met. The Salukis won the series opener by a score of 71-63 on Dec. 8 in Carbondale. Now, Morehead State stands as the only OVC opponent SIU has never played.
Doing the "W"
SIU will look to get its second straight win Wednesday when it plays Tennessee State. The Salukis, who are 1-2 on the season, are coming off a 70-66 come-from-behind victory over Tennessee Tech (11/30). In addition, the win snapped a five-game losing streak dating back to Feb. 23, 2002.
Meet the Press
Midway through the second half against Tennessee Tech (11/30), SIU applied a tenacious full-court press which smothered the Golden Eaglettes into committing eight turnovers in just three minutes. Junior transfer Stephanie Brown came off the bench and had three steals to lead the defensive surge which forced TTU into turnovers on five of six straight possessions. SIU's impressive defensive effort ignited a 24-6 run, and as a result, the Salukis overcame an 18-point deficit to post a 70-66 win, marking their first over the Golden Eaglettes since 1996-97.
SIU saw its streak of 23 consecutive misses from behind the three-point arc come to an end against Tennessee Tech when sophomore guard Chris Perry sunk a trey with 10 minutes left in the first half. The three-pointer added to a total of four in the game as the Salukis are now shooting 10-of-49 (.204) from three-point range this season.
SIU, a member of the Missouri Valley Conference, will face two more opponents from the Ohio Valley Conference this week when it plays at Tennessee State (12/4) and Eastern Illinois (12/7). The Salukis are an impressive 105-27 all-time against OVC schools.
Southern Illinois has lost nine of its previous 10 games on the road. Last winning at Illinois State (64-51), the Salukis will look to get their first road win since Feb. 17, 2002 this Wednesday at Tennessee State.
Junior transfer Stephanie Brown came off the bench to help spark SIU's 18-point come-from-behind win over Tennessee Tech (11/30). In 14 minutes played, Brown scored eight points on 3-of-6 field goals and 2-of-2 free throws. In addition, she pulled down eight rebounds and gathered three steals.
After having been outscored by a count of 51-34 in its first two games, the SIU bench came alive to post a 31-7 advantage over the Tennessee Tech reserves. Junior Jodi Heiden contributed a quality 31 minutes which saw her register a double-double 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead four Saluki substitutes that came off the bench to score three or more points.
Tale of Two Halves
After holding leads at the half in its first two games, SIU found itself trailing at intermission for the first time Saturday against Tennessee Tech. The Golden Eaglettes led 38-26 at the break before the Salukis made an impressive 44-28 comeback in the second half to win the game. On the year, SIU is outscoring its opponents 91-88 in the first half. However, its opponents hold a considerable 126-92 advantage in the second half.
Pinkston Steps Up
Junior transfer Dana Pinkston scored 10 points against Tennessee Tech (11/30), all of which came in the second half. The native of Junction, Ill., converted on 3-of-6 from the field and 3-of-4 from the free throw line, the double-digit outing marked her second of the season. In addition, she grabbed two rebounds, dished out one assist and had three steals in 32 minutes of action.
Although SIU turned the ball over 50 times in its first two games this season, the Salukis had a season-low 17 miscues against Tennessee Tech (11/30). Point guard Dana Pinkston, who had 16 turnovers, including 10 against DePaul (11/23) did not turn the ball over a single time in Saturday's game.
Turning it Around
Twenty-six of SIU's 67 miscues this season have come in the first 12 minutes of the second half. The Salukis committed 11 turnovers in the first 9:28 of the second half against DePaul and 13 in a little over 12 minutes in the second half against Kentucky. Against Tennessee Tech, however, the Salukis turned the ball over just two times in that 12-minute span.
Head Coach Lori Opp
Lori Opp (Western Illinois, '88) is 14-43 in her third year as head coach of the Southern Illinois University women's basketball program. Opp, a native of Havana, Ill., first joined the SIU women's coaching staff in 1998. Under then-head coach Julie Beck, Opp worked as an assistant coach for two seasons. Prior to that, she served as an assistant coach at Murray State, Eastern Illinois and Indiana State. Additionally, Opp is the sixth head coach in SIU's 42-year history.
About the Salukis
Southern Illinois looks to get its second straight win Wednesday against Tennessee State. The Salukis, who stand at 1-2 on the year after a 70-66 win over Tennessee Tech on Nov. 30, are led by senior guard Molly McDowell. McDowell, who vies to lead the Dawgs' in scoring for the second straight season, is averaging 11.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. In addition, she has posted double figures in the scoring column on two occasions and is the only Saluki averaging double-digits.
About the Tigers
Like SIU, Tennessee State earned its first win of the young season Saturday when it defeated Mercer by a score of 79-65. Also boasting a 1-2 record, the Tigers sport four of five starters who average double figures. Led by junior forward LaToya Clay who averages 12.3 points per game, Odessa Kelly (F, 10.0), Theresa Bowen (G, 11.3) and Kisha Stewart (G, 10.7) are also pitching in 10 or more points a contest.
McDowell on the Prowl
Senior Molly McDowell is the Salukis' leading scorer after three games this season. Averaging 11.3 points per game, McDowell needs just 102 points to hit the 1,000-point plateau in her career. Right now, she stands with 898 points.
After being held to just two points against Kentucky (11/25), Molly McDowell regrouped to score a team-leading 17 points Saturday against Tennessee Tech. McDowell shot at least 50 percent from both the field (4-of-8) and the free throw line (9-of-10, .900), while pulling down two rebounds, dishing out three assists and posting two blocks. For McDowell, the double-digit effort, marked her second of the season.
Wednesday's game marks the first of five straight road games the Salukis will play this month. Following its matchup with Tennessee State, SIU will head to Eastern Illinois (12/7), Northwestern (12/14) and Long Beach, Calif. While in Long Beach, the Salukis will play Mercer (12/20) and either Belmont or Long Beach before returning home to open league play against SMS on Jan. 3.
M * A * S * H Report
Freshman Afton Gill has missed the Salukis' first three games this season due to chronic recurring headaches. Junior transfer Alissa Jaehnke did not play against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 30. Jaehnke was sick with gastroenteritis, but should be ready by Wednesday's game.
Follow the Salukis Live on the Internet
All Southern Illinois University women's basketball home games this season can be followed live on the world wide web through SIU's internet gametracker. To activate the gametracker, go to the women's basketball page, click on schedule/results and hit the gametracker link for the game you want to follow.
MVC Scoreboard Phone
Once again this season, you can get the latest scores from around the Missouri Valley Conference by calling the Valley's scoreboard phone at (314) 997-9877. Scores and highlights from all league sports will be updated each night.
Valley Player of the Week
Each week a panel consisting of regional and national media will select a player of the week. Winners will be available by Mondays.
Weekly Coaches Briefings
The Missouri Valley Conference will conduct weekly coaches teleconferences, featuring the league's 10 women's basketball coaches, beginning Tuesday, Jan. 7. Conferences begin at 11:50 a.m. CST. To participate in the weekly coaches briefings, call 913-981-5509.