SIU women to start Eikenberg era

By Gus Bode

There will be no glitz and flash displayed by the Saluki women in their upcoming exhibition game against St. Louis Goldstar.

SIU head coach Dana Eikenberg has continually stressed the importance of fundamentals throughout the pre-season. Make no mistake – Sunday’s exhibition showing will be Fundamentals 101.

Eikenberg said the main focus of the game is putting a healthy group of women on the court to work on the basics of basketball.

Advertisement

“It probably won’t be a real fast-paced game,” Eikenberg said. “We’re hopefully going to try to disrupt what they want to do.”

Disrupting Goldstar will be no easy task. The team, a member of the Amateur Athletic Union, is made up of former college players and travels mainly throughout the Midwest. Eikenberg called them a group of very solid individuals, one of whom is Dana Pinkston.

Pinkston was SIU’s leading scorer last year with 307 points, and the point guard will pose a challenge for some of her former backcourt running mates – especially senior guard Danette Jones.

“It will be fun playing against her,” Jones said. “It’ll just be good having her back at SIU and competing against her.”

Eikenberg said a good strength to posses against Goldstar is to simply be better conditioned – yet another fundamental she has emphasized in the preseason.

There are only nine Salukis eligible to play this season, and Eikenberg has struggled with the shallow depth.

“It’s a thorn in our sides,” Eikenberg said. “We’ve got to be smart as coaches not to wear them out.”

Advertisement

As a result, the Salukis will attempt to utilize every 30-second shot clock in an effort to wear down Goldstar and make smart, decisive decisions when handling the ball. This will hopefully, according to Eikenberg, translate into few turnovers for the Salukis.

“We’ve got an issue with turning the ball over,” Eikenberg said, perhaps in reference to last season’s staggering total of 539 turnovers. “We want to emphasize holding onto the ball as long as we can. If we can do that, we’ll be more successful on the offensive end.”

Eikenberg said the most important thing about Sunday’s game was starting the season on a positive note. While a win would be appreciated, Eikenberg said she is hoping to see the Salukis compete solidly for 40 minutes – while focusing on the fundamentals, of course.

Jones echoed her head coach, and views Sunday’s game as a learning experience for herself and the team.

“It’ll be a chance for us to go out and apply what we’ve been taught and learned so far,” Jones said. “And after that, we’ll step back and look at where we’re at.”

Eikenberg said she has noticed nerves and excitement running high among the team in anticipation of Sunday.

Of course, Eikenberg said she is looking forward to the game as well.

“We’re excited for ourselves and excited to see the kids get going,” Eikenberg said. “This is what boils in my belly.”

Advertisement