Women's Golf picked to finish second in MVC Pre-Championship poll

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    April 17, 2014

    MVC Championships
     Date April 20-22. 2014
     Location Springfield, Ill. -- Panther Creek Country Club
     Host Bradley
     Course Info Par 72; 6,035 yards | Panther Creek
     Championship Info Championship Central | Live Results
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    By Tyler Wooten

    ST. LOUIS —
    Saluki women’s golf has been tabbed to finish second at the upcoming Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Golf Championships in Springfield, Ill., on April 20-22.

    The Salukis also received two first place votes behind favorite Wichita State. After a stellar season that included four tournament victories, the Salukis were rewarded with a second-place slot in the poll behind the Shockers — who have been neck-and-neck with Southern in the team stroke average standings all season. Despite some early high team scores in the fall season, SIU (311.03 average) currently sits less than two strokes behind Wichita State (309.20) at the top of the leaderboard. Second place is the highest Southern has been selected to finish since the Salukis were picked to win in 2007 — the last season SIU came home with the Valley crown.

    Wichita State claims four golfers in the top-10 in the conference in score-versus-par, but Southern isn’t far behind with six in the top-25 — including the second-best mark by senior Cassie Rushing (4.61), who also owns the second-best stroke average in the MVC (76.61). Rushing also boasts the second-lowest single-round score in the MVC in 2014 with her 68 shot at the UMKC Fall Invitational on Sept. 30.

    The MVC Championships will begin Sunday, April 20, and will run through Tuesday, April 22, at Panther Creek Country Club in Springfield, Ill.

    MVC Pre-Championship Poll
    1. Wichita State (7) - 95
    2. Southern Illinois (2) - 91
    3. Indiana State (1) - 69
    T4. Illinois State - 65
    T4. Missouri State - 65
    6. Northern Iowa - 45
    7. Bradley - 43
    8. Evansville - 34
    9. Loyola - 27
    10. Drake - 16

    Starting Lineup
     1 Cassie Rushing Second-lowest stroke average in MVC in 2014 (76.61)...Second-lowest round in MVC in 2014 (career-low 68)...Tied for team lead in top-five finishes (three) and leads in top-10 finishes (eight)...SIU's career leader in rounds under 80 (82)...Currently SIU's all-time stroke average leader (77.2)...Tied for fourth in the nation in rounds played (31)...Tied for 21st nationally in eagles (2)...Tied for 65th nationally in birdies (66).
     2 Ashleigh Rushing Ranked 20th in the MVC with an average of 79.00...Ranks second on the team in top-10 finishes (five)...10 rounds below 80 in her last 16 attempts...Currently ranked 10th all-time at SIU in stroke average (80.3).
     3 Kris Grimes Tied for the team lead with three top-five finishes...Ranks 21st in the MVC with a 79.08 average...Shot a career-low 73 twice this season...Has finished third overall twice in the last three weeks.
     4 Xianmei Jin Ranks 25th in the Valley with a 79.35 stroke average...Shot a career-low 70 in the fall season, which tied for the eighth-best round in Saluki history...Currently tied for fourth nationally in rounds played (31).
     5 Brooke Cusumano Shot seven consecutive rounds below 80, including four consecutive 77s from March 14-April 6...Tied for fourth nationally in rounds played (31).
     HC Alexis Mihelich Won four tournaments in 2013-14, the second time she has done so in a single season in her three seasons at SIU.