Myers sees role increase

By Gus Bode

Karlee Myers made a big jump to the SIU women’s basketball team from community college in California, and her performance has come a long way since the start of the season.

Myers, a junior forward, was signed late in the recruiting season last spring, and as the season has progressed her role and production have increased. She had a season-high 11 shot attempts Saturday at Illinois State, and her season-high in points, with 12, came Jan. 17 against Drake, an overtime loss that stands as the closest the Salukis have come to a win during their eight-game losing streak.

‘Karlee’s a spark plug. She gets it, and I’ve been looking for somebody off the bench, and she’s it,’ head coach Dana Eikenberg said. ‘She’s so accepting of her role and she’s kind of the kid that you look at and if you’re picking sides, she gets picked last, but she’s the one who’s going to kill you.’

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Myers hails from Chico, Calif., and before coming to SIU (4-12, 0-7 MVC) she played for College of the Siskiyous, which is a community college in Weed, Calif.

The difference between SIU and College of the Siskiyous is sizeable, Myers said.

‘Basketball’s your job here, we’re getting paid for playing basketball and it’s pretty much you go to school and play basketball,’ Myers said. ‘There’s a lot more time put into it because it’s a whole different level, but it’s been a fun experience ‘- definitely a difficult one, but it’s been a good transition.’

During the first eight games of the season, Myers played 12 minutes per game, shot 1-for-6 from the field, and totaled eight points and nine rebounds.

Over the next five games, Myers’ minutes per game increased to 17.4, and she shot 7-of-14 with 4.2 points per game and 3.4 rebounds per game.

She has seen the floor the most in the last three games with 25.3 minutes per game on 8-of-24 shooting and 8.7 points per game.

Myers also had some key buckets in the overtime loss to Drake, including a driving layup in the second half that knotted the score at 55-55, which happened to be the first tie score in the game since it was 11-11.

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The 3-pointer she hit in that game had been the fourth attempt she had tried all season, but shooting beyond the arc is something Eikenberg said she plans to put Myers in position to do more.

Myers said she had to improve her strength, conditioning, rebounding and defense when she joined the Salukis, and Eikenberg said Myers has come along well.

‘From a physical standpoint, quickness and strength and the speed of the game are things she continues to adapt to. She has a unique knack around the rim to make some shots that most people don’t anticipate her making,’ Eikenberg said. Myers said she was willing to accept whatever role she was given and continues to gain more confidence as she adapts to the higher level of competition.

‘I never thought I’d play Division I, so I knew I was going to have a role on the team,’ Myers said. ‘And so I just had been talking to them and they told me my role and I’ve just been accepted. I want to be there for my team and everyone has to understand their roles to be a team.’

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