Women’s Basketball conference schedule released

By Ryan Scott, Staff Reporter

The Missouri Valley Conference has released the SIU women’s basketball schedule for the upcoming season. 

Last season, Missouri State won the regular season conference title with a 16-2 conference record. SIU came in 7th with a 8-10 conference record. The conference tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic while the Salukis were at the arena preparing for their first round game. 

The conference season for SIU will start with two road games at Indiana State and the University of Evansville on Jan. 1 and 3. 

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The Salukis’ first home game will be played against Bradley University on Jan. 8. 

The regular season will end with three home matchups against Missouri State, and Evansville, with the final game on March 6 against Indiana State.

“Within our conference, I don’t think there are ever games that stand out to me,” Saluki head coach Cindy Stein said

On the difficulty of the schedule, Stein said there are no longer any guaranteed wins like there were a few seasons ago when they joined the MVC. 

Makenzie Silvey, a senior guard for the Salukis, said she thinks the team will need a quick start to the conference season with a difficult start on the road against Indiana State and Evansville on Jan. 1 and 3. 

Stein said the Northern Iowa and Drake games on Feb. 19 and 21 might be the toughest for SIU with the distance that they have to travel for the game combined with those teams being competitive in the conference. 

Gabby Walker, a Saluki senior forward, said she is excited for all of the conference games and said she is especially excited  for the opponents that they lost to both times they played last season. 

Silvey said she is disappointed that the team wasn’t able to play out the conference tournament last season. She said she thinks the team “had a lot of games that we lost that were close, so I think that’s encouraging for this year.” 

The team should have won at Drake last season and let the game slip away in their 91-76 defeat on Feb. 7, Walker said. 

“There was always one quarter every game where I feel like we might have let ourselves down, where we lost a lead or lost our momentum,” Walker said of last year’s team.

According to Stein there will be no home court advantage if no fans are allowed.

“It’s tough for any kind of competitor to play in a quiet gym,” Stein said. 

Silvey doesn’t think that limited capacity will affect them very much as they don’t get very many fans in general at home games.

Silvey said “on the road I think it will help a lot” since some of their conference opponents get a lot of fans. 

If there are less fans allowed than normal it could feel strange playing in an empty gym, Walker said. 

Walker said she is worried about families being allowed if no fans are permitted at all. Walker says the team should be grateful if they get to participate in front of anybody. 

The Salukis full conference schedule is available at https://siusalukis.com/sports/womens-basketball/schedule

Sports reporter Ryan Scott can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @RyanscottDE. 

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