Losing streak still gives hope for women’s basketball

By Symone Woolridge

The Salukis hosted their annual pink-out game where the women fell short in an 80-55 loss against Drake University. Despite three consecutive losses, the Salukis have not lost hope just yet.

Last time the Bulldogs and Salukis met, it was a head-to-head battle and Drake scored a basket in the final seconds to win 74-72. Coach Cindy Stein attributed the loss to Drake’s progression.

“Honestly, I feel like Drake has been getting better, Drake didn’t hit the shots they hit (before),” she said. “I can’t say we did a better job defensively. I think we’ve kind of went into a slump a little bit; they’re getting better, we’re not.”


Before the Salukis’ last win, they lost five games in a row. SIU has yet to win back-to-back games all season.

Although the team is doing slightly better than last season, when they won only one conference game, they are still last in the Missouri Valley Conference standings.

“This has been a huge learning process for them and I just think they’re totally overwhelmed,” Stein said. “We’ve had to go over how we prepare for practice, to how we prepare for games, to how we wear our uniforms, to how we tuck in our shirts, to how we do our pregame huddle, to how we run out to the court.”

SIU has also been struggling defensively, and Stein said the women have to become more disciplined and be focused.

In Saturday’s match-up, Drake took over SIU arena offensively. Junior Drake guard Kyndal Clark scored a game high of 29 points in her 28 minutes of play.

Nineteen of Clark’s points were scored in the first half. The guard made her distance shots count as she hit seven fiery 3-pointers in the game.

“If you didn’t know who Kyndal Clark was, you do now.” Stein said. “We may have put her on the national scene; 29 points in 28 minutes is outstanding.”


Clark was the hero for her team in the last matchup. She was the Bulldog who scored in the final 1.5 seconds to win the game.

The best 3-point shooting team in the conference, shot 10 of 24 behind the arc and went 31 of 64 in field goals. The Salukis went only 4 of 15 from the 3-point line and 20 of 58 in field goals.

The two games were similar by halftime, as each team led by the same amount of points by the halfway mark. In January, SIU led Drake by eight points. Saturday, Drake led SIU by eight points.

Senior guard Jordyn Courier was one of the few Salukis to bring a spark to the game. Courier led SIU with 13 points.

Sophomore guard Hannah Shores had a career-high scoring day. She finished her pink-out game day with 11 points.

“I’m just getting more used to playing, and getting familiar with my teammates and what everybody is able to do,” Shores said. “I think tonight we worked really hard, and that’s what helped it. I wasn’t trying to score more, that’s just how the game went.”

Although the guards played well and scored in double figures, Drake made it hard for the Saluki forwards to score on any post-play.

The Bulldogs were set in a defensive zone where they would double-team post players once they had the ball. They forced SIU to only 20 points in the paint where the Salukis were outscored 38-20.

“We knew that they were probably going to play in zone most of the game so we’ve been working on that in practice,” Courier said. “But it is difficult when they collapse on Dyana, when that’s hard for her to get the ball out when she’s one of our best players.”

The two big scorers for SIU could not get many shots to fall. Sophomore center Dyana Pierre finished with eight points, and sophomore forward Azia Washington finished with five points. Each of them scored in double figures last time SIU and Drake met.

Stein said it has been tough trying to get her team to come back after a deficit with a team who does not expect to win.

“I believe in them. I think we have a possibility to be pretty good,” she said. “But it’s hard. A lot of it is a mental thing with us and you have to have all of them on the same page. We have to get more than a few.”

The Salukis will try to find answers during their next three road games. They head to Indiana to compete against Indiana State University Friday.

“Each day in practice we’re just going to keep working and keep getting better,” Shores said. “We’re not going to take it as a loss and that we’re going to keep losing this season. Every game we’re going to try to see what we can do to get better.”

Symone Woolridge can be reached at [email protected] on twitter @swoolridge_DE

or ext. 536-3311 ext. 269