Meet the indispensible Saluki guard Kylie Giebelhausen


Senior guard Kylie Giebelhausen looks to make a pass Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, during the Salukis 90-68 win against the Lindenwood Lynx at SIU Arena. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

By Ryan Demer

A classic two-way guard is essential for any team’s winning formula. As the only player in SIU history with at least 900 career points, 300 rebounds, 200 assists, and 100 blocks, senior guard Kylie Giebelhausen has been the perfect embodiment of that for the Salukis.

Born and raised in East Peoria, Giebelhausen thrived at the high school level. She led her team in every major statistical category in her junior and senior seasons. In 2014, she earned All-State Honorable Mention as a senior.

In addition, Giebelhausen played tennis in high school. Although not having any experience, she excelled and qualified for the state tournament in 2013.


She used tennis to take her mind off things during the offseason.

“It was also a lot of lateral work which translates onto the court,” the Saluki guard said. “There’s a lot of hand eye coordination and technique involved with the sport that are beneficial as well [to basketball].”

Giebelhausen began her Saluki career with success, as she nailed 47 3-pointers and was named to the 2014-15 MVC All-Freshman Team.

As her career progressed, Giebelahausen improved significantly. She led the team in blocks her sophomore year and continued to grow as a scorer and rebounder.

“With confidence and taking more risks on the court, I’ve improved,” Giebelhausen said. “Off the court I’ve gotten a lot stronger in the weight room and that helps being in the lane more rather than settling for exclusively being a 3-point shooter.”

Last season, she was named All-MVC First Team after she led the team in scoring. She also led the MVC with 82 3-pointers, the third-most in a season in school history.

“The hard work truly pays off,” Giebelhausen said.. “I think the reason why it feels so rewarding is because I wasn’t highly recruited out of high school. All I needed was somebody to give me a chance and Coach Stein did.”


Giebelhausen came into Southern with the expectations of being a role player. Her success came from her desire to get better each day, as well as the benefit of her height advantage.

“On the defensive end, I always depended on my length,” the Saluki guard said. “Through conditioning with lateral and agility movements, I’ve improved as a defender and rebounder since coming here.”

Her rebounding have improved in her time at SIU, as she finished last season second on the team in rebounds. She entered this season as the leading rebounder of all returning Salukis.

However, her mind isn’t caught up on individual stats. The focus is on a strong finish for this season.

“I think a championship is always the goal every year I’ve been here,” Giebelhausen said. “Hopefully we’ll get to another 20-win season and get the freshman to mature a little more.”

With the high talent brought in by Saluki head coach Cindy Stein in the offseason, Giebelhausen is eager to use her experience to help the underclassmen grow.

She said that if the season does not go the way she would like it to, at least she’d be able to provide the freshman with valuable learning experiences to build off for seasons to come.

“We have such young talent,” the senior guard said. “They’re all already ready to play and the only place they can go is up, so hopefully my point of view can help them improve.”

After she grooms the Saluki freshman, Giebelhausen is prepared to continue in a professional career. With a major in exercise science, Giebelhausen plans to enter pre-physical therapy.

After already being accepted to Bradley University, she has her future set. Being that Bradley is in Peoria, the guard is excited to return home.

“I’ve missed out on my family a little bit while playing basketball,” Giebelhausen said. “It was totally worth it, but right now I can just focus on basketball.”

After her career is over, the first thing that Giebelhausen plans to do is buy a dog, as it is difficult to take care of a dog while traveling with the team. She also plans to travel to France to visit her brother who is studying abroad.

In addition, Giebelhausen plans to run a full marathon one day. Despite her passion for running, her main drive always lies in the sport of basketball.

“In the future, I’ll somehow find my way back to basketball, whether it be through coaching teams or holding lessons,” she added. “I feel like it can’t be out of my life for that long.”

Right now, Giebelhausen is focused on savoring her last season as a Saluki. On Nov. 27, she forever cemented her legacy in SIU history and became the 25th Saluki to score 1,000 career points.

“I’ve always told myself in the back of my head, I wanted to be the player other coaches wished they got the chance to coach and the teammate other players wish they got to play with,” Giebelhausen noted. “So far, I think I’m leaving that mark.”

Sports writer Ryan Demer can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @RyanDemer_DE 
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