Saluki womens basketball give effort despite player shortages


By Symone Woolridge

As an athlete’s body begins to wear down from long practices, players are forced to sit out to avoid further injury.

The SIU women’s basketball team has been at a slight disadvantage as a result of players’ injuries and medical issues this season. After a disappointing 5-26 record last season, the women were excited to return in full force this year with a new coaching staff.

Although the Salukis had a rough start, they are starting to get the feel of playing as a team. Since their first conference game Jan. 2 against Bradley University, SIU is 1-1 in conference.


During the hard fought game, SIU defeated the Braves in double-overtime 100-96. This was the first time the SIU women have scored at least 100 points since the 1984-85 season.

The Salukis showed confidence as a team with only five eligible players by the second overtime. Junior forwards Dyana Pierre and Azia Washington led the Salukis with a combined 60 points.

After scoring 27 points, Washington fouled out in the first overtime and Pierre found herself on the bench in the second, finishing with 33 points.

Because of players fouling out and others out for medical reasons, the women did not have any substitute players to look to.

Freshmen guard Carlie Corrigan and forward Kim Nebo were the two remaining out of the original starting five.

“I knew I was going to have to step up and take on a role that I don’t think many freshman have to take,” Corrigan said. “But obviously we had so few players everybody had to step up in a different way.”

Corrigan said she had to find her role a lot faster than usual, especially as a freshman.


“That game showed us that as a team it’s okay, this is what happens,” she said. “There’s always going to be something that happens, someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to be out, it’s just going to happen.”

Coach Cindy Stein said she was very proud of her team and how they handled the battle.

“If we had one more player foul out, we would’ve had to play with four people,” Stein said. “It was tough, but at that point we just had to play smart, and that was the key.”

Senior guard Jordyn Courier sat out of her first game against Bradley with the flu. The senior averaged 6.8 points last season and has been scoring crucial points for SIU in the last few games.

From the start of the season the Salukis have lost four players, including junior guard Cartaesha Macklin.

Macklin has been a key player for the Salukis. The guard averaged 15 points per game last season and was Honorable Mention All-Missouri Valley Conference.

Despite her Nov. 18 performance against Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne University where she scored the one-thousandth point of her SIU career, she has not played since Dec. 4 for unknown medical reasons.

Sophomore point guard Rishonda Napier, who averaged 11.3 points per game last season has not played with the Salukis since Nov. 27 where she scored seven points against Marshall University.

Earlier in the season Stein said Napier had become a vocal leader on the court. She was dedicating her time to watching film and spending extra time shooting before practice. Napier has averaged 7.2 points per game in the five games she played this season.

Freshman Kiley Gorski is another SIU guard who has not been able to play this season.

During Gorski’s senior year of high school, she tore her anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament. The setback has caused Gorski to sit out her first year of SIU basketball. She will undergo ACL reconstructive surgery later this month.

“It’s really frustrating sitting out,” she said. “But I think I can bring what Cartaesha, Alexis and Rishonda bring from the bench.”

With three guards out for the season, the on-court Salukis have been learning how to play without some of their teammates. Stein said everyone has been pushing themselves physically but their day-to-day play has to be more consistent.

“They have to learn how to play with everyone,” Stein said. “But I think each and every one of them step up in their own way and they all work hard.”

Although Pierre has been dominating inside the paint this season, the Salukis have been without 6-foot-1 junior Alexus Patterson, their only other center.

Patterson averaged 3.9 points last season, and has only played in three games with the Salukis this year. Patterson along with Macklin and Napier are out for the season for unknown medical reasons.

The Salukis played with intensity in the double-overtime battle against Bradley, but failed to show the same fire against Loyola University-Chicago on January 4 when SIU took a 60-48 loss against the Ramblers.

Stein was unhappy with the women’s performance, and said playing a draining double-overtime game two days before was no excuse for the loss.

“This is where we have to mature as a team, you have to get used to playing back-to-back games,” Stein said. “In double overtime everyone played significant minutes and had to play hard but you have to follow it up with the same intensity for the next game.”

The Ramblers forced the Salukis to nine turnovers in the first half. They then went on a 13-6 run to start the second half.

“In the Loyola game we were horrible, absolutely horrible,” Stein said. “We didn’t play with any kind of passion or drive until probably about the last three or four minutes of the game.”

SIU will head to Iowa to compete against Drake University for their first away game since Dec. 4.

Stein said defensively the Salukis have to be able to guard the players in all five spots.

“Drake is a good shooting team,” Stein said. “It comes down to defense, rebounding and taking care of the ball.”