Stein searching for first win against alma mater


By Thomas Donley, @tdonleyDE

The SIU women’s basketball team is heading to its coach’s old stomping grounds Tuesday in search of a resume-building win.

The Salukis have a chance to beat a team from one of the Power Five conferences for the first time since 1993, and coach Cindy Stein can beat her alma mater, University of Illinois, for the first time as a head coach.

Stein played at U of I from 1981-83 and is eighth all-time at the school in assists with 323. Her 6.1 dimes per game in 1982-83 are the second most for a single season.


“It’s a game that I want to win badly,” she said. “But I’ve played them so many times here and other places that I’ve been. It’s just another opponent that you want to try to knock off.”

Stein is 0-7 in her career against the Fighting Illini. She went 0-5 against them from 1998-2010 with University of Missouri before losing once in each of her first two years at SIU. Stein is 0-2 coaching games in Champaign.

Senior center Dyana Pierre said Stein does not talk with players about beating U of I.

“I don’t know how she feels about it,” she said. “But we want to win.”

Stein said beating her old school is not her highest priority for Tuesday night.

“Any time that you can beat a Power Five conference team, that’s a big deal,” she said. “If we can get that accomplished, that would mean more than [beating] my alma mater.”

The last time SIU beat a team from the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, SEC or Pac-12 was Dec. 20, 1993 when they beat Arizona State 73-57 at SIU Arena. 


The Salukis are 21-13 all-time against the Illini, but have not beaten them since 1993.

U of I came last to SIU Arena on Dec. 6, 2014 and left with an 86-42 win.

“I felt like I got punched in the mouth,” senior power forward Azia Washington said. “It wasn’t a good feeling. We wanted to do some great things, and that kind of woke us up.”

Pierre said beating Illinois on Tuesday would be a big boost for SIU.

“It would be great,” she said. “Our focus is on trying to get to the NCAA Tournament, so that would look nice on our record.”

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3307