Women’s basketball midseason review

By Gus Bode

At the halfway point of the Missouri Valley Conference season, the SIU women’s basketball team sits at 4-14 overall and 0-9 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Salukis are in the middle of an eight-day layoff before they begin the second half of the conference season, giving us an opportunity to reflect on the performances of the key players to date.

Name:Molly McDowell, senior guard

McDowell’s evaluation:”It’s not about individual play right now. Everybody on the team has strengths and weaknesses and they go into a larger scheme of our wins and losses. Right now it’s a matter of putting all of our strengths together and that will correspond into more wins.”

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Opp’s evaluation:”The thing we want to do most for her is keep her out of foul trouble, and then, of course, from the scoring standpoint, we really need her to play well.”

Bottom line:As the only consistent scorer on her team, McDowell has done everything possible given the opponent’s defensive focus on her. She leads her team in numerous statistical categories, but she just needs to avoid the fouls that have sent her to the bench at very inopportune times lately.

Name:Dana Pinkston, junior guard

Opp’s evaluation:”Dana is coming off a great game at Northern Iowa where she scored 25 points and pushed the ball and attacked the basket and made great decisions. She needs to continue doing that. Early on she was struggling with turnovers, but that’s something she’s improved. That’s what we need from her is to do a nice job distributing the ball and scoring.”

Bottom line:After an atrocious start to the season, she seems to be adapting to the Division I level. She committed only seven turnovers combined on last weekend’s two-game road trip. With her amazing quickness, she’ll be a force if she can limit her turnovers and take better shots.

Name:Jodi Heiden, junior forward

Opp’s evaluation:”Jodi Heiden is capable of playing inside-outside and we need to get some consistent scoring out of Jodi. That would really help our team.”

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Bottom line:While she can hit the outside shot, Heiden, like many of her teammates, seems reluctant to shoot it. She is making her three-pointers at a 40 percent clip, but has shot less than one a game.

Name:Katie Berwanger, junior forward

Berwanger’s evaluation:”I’m doing a pretty good job of rebounding and hustling. My scoring is something that I definitely need to be more consistent at.”

Opp’s evaluation:”Katie needs to just slow down offensively. She does a great job on the boards. She hustles. She is non-stop hustle. We just need her to slow down offensively and knock down her inside shots.”

Bottom line:She’s hyper all the time, which is a good thing when it comes to rebounding. But high energy can be a weakness when it comes to making easy shots. An inner calm could help. Perhaps Tai Chi is the remedy.

Name:Tiffany Crutcher, junior forward

Crutcher’s evaluation:”I think I need to take my time on my shots and play better defense. My foot’s been injured, but its getting better. As my foot gets better, I think my game will improve.”

Opp’s evaluation:”Tiff has done a good job and been fairly consistent for us inside from a scoring standpoint. We just need her to continue stepping up her defensive effort to stop the other team’s post players.”

Bottom line:More confidence inside and a stronger defensive focus would help her team greatly. SIU’s post defense has been horrid at times, and she could help improve that as her foot injury improves. She seems to be coming around and her continued improvement is key if her team is to make a late-season run.

Name:Danette Jones, sophomore guard/forward

Jones’ evaluation:”Honestly we need to focus more on what we’re doing as a team. We just need to work on our execution and keep working hard every day. I know we’re down right now, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t turn it around in the second half of the conference season, do something special.”

Opp’s evaluation:”Danette needs to continue looking to score. She does a great job shooting the ball from outside and now we need her to just continue to get better putting the ball on the floor and attacking the basket.”

Bottom line:With the lack of scoring on this team, there’s no excuse for a proficient shooter not to take more shots. She isn’t put into the game for her defensive prowess, so she should look to score much more.

Name:Hillary Phillips, senior guard

Opp’s evaluation:”Hillary’s been outstanding defensively and on the boards. The other thing we need her to look to do more is to score for us. She’s got a great shot. It goes in most of the time. We just would like her to take it more.”

Bottom line:She brings everything that a senior should bring, defense, rebounding and leadership. You can’t ask for much more from a player who is not known as a big-time scorer at the college level.

Bottom line:Just playing smart basketball will help this team tremendously. Eliminating unnecessary fouls and turnovers in addition to playing with defensive intensity might be enough for the Salukis to make the three-game climb out of the MVC basement.

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