Senior Cassie Rushing
April 22, 2014
By Tyler Wooten
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Saluki women's golf concluded the 2013-14 season with a fourth-place finish at the Missouri Valley Conference Championships on Tuesday at Panther Creek Country Club. Southern shot a final-round score of 300 to push its 54-hole total to 908, eight strokes off of the champion Wichita State Shockers.
The Shockers earned their first MVC title in 22 years by one stroke on the heels of a final-round 299. Host school and fifth-place finisher Bradley led going into the final round before shooting a 310 on Tuesday. However, BU still managed to claim the individual title via Danielle Lemek, who won by seven strokes at a conference championship record 54-hole total of 212.
Southern shot its second 300 of the tournament on Tuesday, replicating its first round score and improving eight strokes from a rainy second round on Monday. Despite the setback on Day Two, SIU's 36-hole total of 608 ranks as the fifth-best all-time in school history, its 54-hole total of 908 ranks tied for fourth all-time, and today's final round ranks as the sixth-best third-round score in Saluki history.
In her final round as a Saluki, Cassie Rushing solidified herself as one of SIU's finest female golfers in program history. Rushing shot a 70 on the final day, dropping her overall score to a 54-hole total of 220 and into a tie for fourth place individually. Her finish earns her All-MVC honors for a fourth-consecutive season, which makes her only the second Saluki to ever do so (Kelly Gerlach, 2004-08) and one of only seven golfers in the history of the MVC to earn all-conference in four seasons. All-conference criteria includes players that finish within the top-five at the tournament or those ranked within the top-five in the conference stroke average standings entering the meet. The Marion, Ill., native has finished within the top-five at the conference tournament every season at SIU.
Cassie's twin sister, Ashleigh Rushing, also wrapped up her successful Saluki career with a solid round on Tuesday. Rushing shot a 74 to put her into a tie for 11th overall at 226, her highest-career finish at the conference tournament in four seasons at SIU. Her career stroke average of 80.2 also ranks on SIU's all-time list in 10th place.
"The twins had a great final round to close out their SIU careers," said SIU head coach Alexis Mihelich. "We played consistent for three rounds while never having a score in the 80s, and we were the only team to do that all tournament. But, at the end of the day our scores weren't low enough to win the championship."
After some high team scores last fall, Southern turned on the jets and ended up with four tournament wins in 2013-14 -- the second such season under Mihelich since 2011 that pushed her three-year tournament victory total to nine. Returning for SIU are conference starters Grimes, Jin and Cusumano, as well as sophomore Mattie Lindner and freshman Kristie Yang -- who both saw significant playing time in 2013-14.
1. Wichita State: 297-304-299 (900)
2. Indiana State: 296-307-298 (901)
3. Illinois State: 297-309-300 (906)
4. Southern Illinois: 300-308-300 (908)
5. Bradley: 293-306-310 (909)
6. Missouri State: 305-303-308 (916)
7. Evansville: 305-306-314 (925)
8. Northern Iowa: 307-313-307 (927)
9. Loyola: 311-311-307 (929)
10. Drake: 305-311-318 (934)