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    Sept. 28, 2000

    For Southern Illinois University Carbondale (7-7, 0-3 in MVC), hopefully there's no place like home. The Salukis host SW Missouri State (10-2, 3-1 in MVC) and Wichita State (1-11, 0-4 in MVC) in Davies Gym this weekend looking for their first Missouri Valley Conference win.

    "I think being at home will help. Having our home crowd cheering for us will be nice after three weeks on the road and facing tough crowds. Hopefully we'll respond and pick up some wins because we need to win some conference matches to reach our goal (making the conference tournament-top six teams)," Saluki head coach Sonya Locke said.

    The Salukis have lost seven of their last eight matches after a 6-0 start, including being swept by Illinois State and Indiana State last weekend, and a 0-3 loss to SE Missouri State last Tuesday. Locke feels the basics have been the difference.

    "Defense and passing the ball are things you always have to do well to win. We also have to neutralize whoever is on for the opponent. It's been a combination of all of the fundamentals that have broken down, so we'll work on the game and see what happens. We can't experience any success unless we play as a team and are aggressive with passing and defense," Locke added.

    SIU is coming off a season low 14 points in a match against SE Missouri State last Tuesday. The Salukis have to play better defense and score points, which go hand in hand.

    "We can?t let the other team score points since we've had problems scoring points, and we have to score points. You can't score points unless you play defense or have really good serving. We have to do those things better than we have in the past to win matches," stated Locke.

    The Salukis were swept by both squads in 1999. SW Missouri State (3-1 in MVC) has lost to just Northern Iowa (4-0 in MVC) in conference play, while Wichita State (0-4 in MVC) will be looking for their first MVC win this weekend also. SIU is 11-24 all-time against SW Missouri State and 15-11 all-time against Wichita State.

    Following the matches this weekend, SIU travels to Drake on Oct. 6, and Creighton on Oct. 7. The Salukis return home to face Northern Iowa on Oct. 13, and Bradley on Oct. 14. Both matches will be played at 7 p.m. in Davies Gym.