Daily Egyptian

Saluki women take on Sycamores

By Ted Ward, @TedWard_DE

With a rough road stretch behind them, SIU women’s basketball returns home to take on the Indiana State Sycamores.

After a 4-1 start to Missouri Valley Conference play, the Salukis dropped their last two games to Wichita State and Missouri State last weekend. SIU (11-8, 4-3 MVC) will look to bounce back against Indiana State.

The Sycamores (8-10, 4-3 MVC) average 58.6 points per game, which ranks sixth in the conference, but the strength of this team lies in its defense.

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Indiana State is the best in the Valley in points allowed, limiting teams to 58 per game. The team guards the 3-point line tight, holding opponents to a conference-best 29 percent from long range. This could be a problem for SIU, as it is first in the conference in 3-point percentage at 33 percent, led by senior guard Cartaesha Macklin, who converts 38 percent of long balls.

SIU will be without leading rebounder, senior center Dyana Pierre, who is listed “day to day” after dislocating her shoulder in the 82-77 loss to Missouri State on Jan. 24.

The Salukis dynamic duo at guard in Macklin and junior Rishonda Napier, who both rank in the top 12 in the conference in scoring, must contribute solid offensive numbers tonight without the All-MVC post presence of Pierre. Macklin is coming off a 25-point performance against Missouri State with Napier adding 18. 

During Pierre’s suspension earlier in the year, the Salukis were 2-1, winning two exhibition games. They suffered a 105-61 loss against then-ranked DePaul on Nov. 13 when they were outrebounded 43-32. Macklin averaged 14 points during that time, a slight uptick from her 13.1 season average. The Salukis will need a similar output from Napier to negate the loss of Pierre.

Napier will likely draw the assignment of guarding the Sycamores’ leading scorer senior guard Cierra Ceazar, who comes into the game averaging 13.4 points. She is fresh off a 20-point performance in a 56-37 win against Bradley on Jan. 24.

SIU coach Cindy Stein is 2-2 against Indiana State, as last season the Salukis recorded their first season sweep of the Sycamores since the 1995-96 season. Her counterpart Joey Wells is 0-2 against SIU.

The game will tip off at 6 p.m. at SIU Arena in Carbondale.

Ted Ward can be reached at [email protected] or 618-534-3303

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