SIU Arena is site for girls high school basketball tournament

By Gus Bode

Saluki women to coordinate games

Several former SIU women’s basketball players will be returning to Carbondale this weekend to help coordinate the Saluki Girls’ Basketball Team Tournament.

Former players Geshla Woodard, Molly McDowell, Hillary Phillips and Megan Miller will all participate as referees, timekeepers and scorekeepers for the games. Current players will also help out during the two-day event.


“The tournament is an opportunity for teams to come in and see some different talent and play against some different competition,” SIU women’s basketball coach Lori Opp said.

Twenty-six different junior varsity and varsity high school teams will participate this weekend. Local schools such as Carterville and Murphysboro will be among those competing.

“At this point in the summer, records don’t count,” Carterville High School girls’ basketball coach Todd Rogers said. “It’s just getting up and down the court and seeing where we’re at.”

Opp, who will not comment on future recruits, does keep an eye out for future Saluki players.

“We’re always recruiting,” Opp said. “It doesn’t matter what age the players are, I’m always watching.”

During the tournament, teams are responsible for their own lodging and meals. At least seven players must be on a squad before they are considered eligible to participate.

After paying a $250 payment, eligible teams play three games on Saturday and at least two games on Sunday.


“We don’t do any type of bracketing,” Opp said. “We have officials for them, and we provide a place for them to play.”

The camp is designed to improve players’ performances by developing self-confidence and an understanding of teamwork.

“The camp is an opportunity for us to promote our program and promote SIU in a positive light,” Opp said. “It will also give us a chance to see more people play right here on our campus.”

Reporter Pete Spitler can be reached at [email protected]