Saluki women hope to improve on rough season, avoid injuries

By Gus Bode

If the Saluki women can dodge injuries the Salukis look to make waves in The Valley

Women’s basketball looks to improve, barring injury.

The Salukis are looking to sneak back into the Valley following a side-lined season.

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The injuries really hurt us, Coach Floyd said.

The lack of depth was a devastating blow to the Salukis. At certain points in the season, the Salukis had only eight or nine players to practice, according to Floyd.

SIU did find a bright spot in the season, however.

Winning at Illinois State was huge for us, because it was our first conference win, Floyd said. It definitely gave us a boost.

The Salukis managed to defeat their next MVC opponent in Northern Iowa, but struggled for the remainder of the season, finishing 6-21 overall.

In addition to a disappointing season, the Salukis must overcome the loss of team leader Holly Teague to graduation.

Holly Teague, day-in day-out just worked hard, Floyd said.

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The Salukis also lost post-presence Geshla Woodard to graduation.

As the Salukis try to cope with the loss of Woodard and Teague, the team will benefit from JUCO transfers Stephanie Brown, Dana Pinkston and Alissa Jaehnke.

SIU returns 10 players including four seniors to help guide the new players.

Going to the MVC Tournament is the Salukis’ No. 1 goal. Floyd said whether they get there depends on their discipline and work ethic.

Their summer workouts will be a big factor on how well we do, and if we remain healthy.

The Salukis especially look forward to beginning conference play. MVC action has yet to be scheduled but should start by the end of December or the beginning of January.

With hard work, the team looks to be invited to the MVC tournament, which allows the best eight teams out of the 10 in the conference.

That’s kind of the big reward, to go to the tournament at the end of the season, said junior forward Jodi Heiden.

The Salukis expect to perform at a high level this season if they can stay healthy. One source of production should be star senior guard Molly McDowell.

We expect big things out of her, leadership-wise and scoring-wise, Floyd said.

The Salukis will need to count on one another as they endure a long season. A lot depends on the newcomers and how well they gel together, according to Floyd.

We have to listen to one another, said junior forward Danielle Lawary.

With the tutelage of head coach Lori Opp and the help of her more than 13 years of experience at the Division I level, the Salukis are anticipating a bright year.

That’s our challenge, to get back to the competitive top, Floyd said.

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