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    Dec. 22, 2013

    Southern Illinois (2-7) vs. UT Martin (6-5)
     Date Monday, Dec. 23, 2013
     Time 12:05 p.m. CT
     Location Carbondale, Ill. - SIU Arena (8,339)
     Video Saluki All-Access

    Saluki Sports Network

     Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader | UT Martin Get Acrobat Reader
     Season Stats Southern Illinois | UT Martin
     Live Stats Gametracker | Valley Scoreboard
     Social Media @SIU_WBasketball

    By Tyler Wooten

    CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Saluki women's basketball will look for its first victory over the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks since 2001 at home on Monday, with tipoff scheduled for 12:05 p.m. at the SIU Arena.

    Southern Illinois Salukis (2-7)
Head Coach:
    Cindy Stein • First Season • 284-213 overall (17th season) • 2-7 at SIU

    Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks (6-5)
Head Coach: 
    Kevin McMillan • 5th Season • 80-59 overall (5th season) • 80-59 at UTM

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

    The all-time series between the Salukis and Skyhawks is tied 7-7, dating back to the first matchup in 1973. UT Martin took the first four meetings from 1973-1975, which was followed by four straight by the Salukis from 1976-1981. In Carbondale, Southern is 5-4 against the Skyhawks. The two schools took a 17-year hiatus from 1983-2000 before reigniting the regional showdown with a home-and-home in 2000 and 2001, which was followed by yet another series in 2010 and 2011. SIU has not defeated the Skyhawks since Nov. 29, 2001, when the Salukis took care of UT Martin, 82-67.

    Overall, SIU is 61-33 against teams from the Ohio Valley Conference -- which includes a 2-2 mark versus UT Martin since they joined in 1992. The Salukis only hold a losing record against three teams -- Tennessee Tech (10-13), Austin Peay (1-4) and SEMO (1-5) -- and hold a winning or even record with the remaining seven schools: Murray State (35-5), Tennessee State (3-1), Eastern Illinois (3-0), Eastern Kentucky (2-0), Western Kentucky (2-1), Middle Tennessee State (1-1) and SIU Edwardsville (1-1).

    An opening offensive surge for the Skyhawks was too much for the Salukis to handle, as they fell 91-70 at UT Martin on Dec. 18, 2011 in Martin, Tenn. The Skyhawks scored 20 unanswered points en route to a 27-6 lead during the opening 10 minutes of the game and a 55-29 lead at halftime. Southern didn't go down without a fight, though, as they outscored UTM 41-36 in the second half. However, the deficit in the first half proved insurmountable. Southern got exemplary performances out of Cartaesha Macklin (20 points, 10-of-11 FT), Teri Oliver (17 points, 3-of-8 3FG) and Jordyn Courier (12 points, 4-of-8 3FG), but SIU put the Skyhawks on the free throw line 34 times (while only drawing 15 trips itself), and were outrebounded 43-33.

    UTM's Heather Butler posted a 29-point performance, but it wasn't enough to keep up with a hot-shooting Illini team, as the Skyhawks fell 77-62 to Illinois at the State Farm Center on Saturday night. Despite a woeful Illini mark from the charity stripe (3-of-14), Illinois' impressive 10-of-19 (.526) clip from beyond the ark and 32-of-50 (.552) overall mark sank the Skyhawks. Illinois had four players in double figures, including Amber Moore, who scored 26 points on 10-of-12 shooting and 6-of-12 from three. For the Skyhawks, Butler was 10-of-21 from the field, but the rest of her team was 12-of-44.

    Southern was within reach of its second straight, but a season-high 22 turnovers left SIU just short, falling 55-51 to Chicago State on Friday night at the SIU Arena. SIU led 28-25 at the half, but foul trouble forced sophomore center Dyana Pierre to the bench, which resulted in a momentum swing for the Cougars. The Salukis kept it interesting down the stretch, but a woeful 22.7 percent clip in the second half kept the Salukis from regaining the lead. Pierre led the way for Southern with 16 points and six rebounds. Senior Sidney Goins added 10 points -- her second straight game with double-digit scoring -- and sophomore Azia Washington hauled in 11 boards.

    Sophomore Dyana Pierre has been the catalyst for Southern all season long, and she has showed no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Pierre scored a combined 36 points on 14-of-24 (.583) shooting in two games last week, which included a career-high 20-point performance against Eastern Illinois on Dec. 16. In nine games this season, Pierre has scored fewer than 10 points only once (six, Central Arkansas) and has posted double-digit rebound performances in five games -- four of which have contributed to double-doubles. Pierre has earned her right as SIU's leading scorer and shooter as she's made at least six field goals in seven of Southern's nine games and attempted at least nine shots in each game.

    With a healthy percentage of SIU's starting roster from last season unavailable due to injury, the Salukis have had to dig deeper into its roster than previously anticipated. Starting point guard Hannah Shores has eased into Division I basketball with 5.2 points and 2.4 assists in 24.8 minutes per game. Senior Sidney Goins -- who played 27 minutes in her first four games this season -- has played at least 19 a game since and has posted 22 points on six three-point field goals in her four starts. Goins posted double-digit scoring figures in consecutive games for the first time in her Saluki career against EIU (12) and Chicago State (10). Most recently, senior Jordyn Courier came off the bench with seven points, three steals and two assists in 18 minutes in SIU's loss to Chicago State on Friday. Prior to Friday's loss, Courier had played more than nine minutes only once in 2013-14 (IPFW, 13).

    After a 1-4 road swing throughout November and the early part of December, the Salukis returned home in high fashion with a 66-60 victory over an offensively potent Eastern Illinois squad. Southern was impressive in every facet of the victory, head coach Cindy Stein's first at the SIU Arena. The Salukis posted their best totals of the season in shooting percentage (.471), three-point percentage (.333) and three-point field goals (seven) -- all while holding EIU leading scorer Sabina Oroszova seven points under her season average.

    Southern's inside sophomore duo of forward Azia Washington and center Dyana Pierre have been dominant in the post for the Salukis this season. Pierre currently leads the MVC in blocks (1.9 per game) and offensive rebounds (3.7), ranks second in field goal percentage (.533), tied for second in rebounding (9.0) and ninth in scoring (13.8). Washington, who has scored in double-digits in three of her of her last four games, ranks eighth in rebounding (7.1) and ninth in field goal percentage (.431). In her last six games, Washington has shot 50.0 percent or better in five of them, and is 25-of-51 (.490) from the field.

    Sophomore center Dyana Pierre is already within striking distance of the top-ten all-time at SIU in career blocks. After posting the fourth-most blocks in a single-season in school history in 2012-13 (36), Pierre stands within four blocks of the top-ten with 52 career blocks. Pierre currently has 16 in 2013-14 and averages 1.9 per game, right now the most in the MVC. At this pace, Pierre will record the third-most blocks in a single-season for SIU in 2013-14 and climb up to second all-time in career blocks.

    Southern, which came off of consecutive games of giving up more than 75 points, allowed only 37 points in a victory over the Central Arkansas Sugar Bears on Dec. 2. UCA, which was averaging 67.0 points per game entering the contest, shot 25.9 percent from the field and their best player -- Courtney Deuver (13.1 PPG) -- was held to three points, thanks in large part to the superb defense of Dyana Pierre (11 rebounds, six points, three blocks, three steals). The 18 points UCA scored in the second half are the fewest allowed by the Salukis since Jan. 29, 2011, when Southern allowed only 14 to Indiana State in the first half, and 37 points are the fewest given up by SIU in a single game since Dec. 10, 1988 when the Salukis held Central Michigan to 32.

    The Salukis also showed their defensive prowess on Dec. 16 versus Eastern Illinois when it shut down EIU's leading scorer Sabina Oroszova. Entering the game, Oroszova averaged 18.3 points per game, but the Salukis were able to hold her to 11 points -- which included starting the game 1-of-8 from the field and four points in the first half.

    Walk-on sophomore Hannah Shores has made her presence known. Shores, a native of nearby Centralia, Ill., has scored 5.2 points and 2.4 assists in 24.8 minutes per game in nine games played and four starts. Shores earned her first career start at IPFW on Nov. 18, where she played 23 minutes and scored a career-high nine points. On Dec. 16 versus Eastern Illinois, Shores got her first start at point guard and played a career-high 34 minutes, in which she dished out a career-high seven assists and scored six points, all on free throws. Of Southern's 51 attempts from the field, Shores did not take a single shot. Entering the game, Shores was attempting 5.7 shots per game.