Saluki women’s basketball packing a punch in the offseason

Saluki womens basketball packing a punch in the offseason

By Thomas Donley, @TDonleyDE

SIU women’s basketball players are floating like butterflies and stinging like bees this spring.

The Salukis have incorporated a boxing regimen into their offseason cardio workouts as a new way to stay in shape.

“We were trying to find something different to do in the offseason,” senior forward Carlie Corrigan said. “Our coaches don’t really like to run us really hard at this point in the season, so we wanted something fun that would be a good workout.”


The Dawgs have been working with Recreation Center instructor Tim Crouse to improve their upper body strength.

“I’d say they’re doing fantastic, because they’re all great athletes,” Crouse said. “All good athletes I’ve had before have always done well because they naturally come along very well with it.”

The workout mainly consists of players alternating between punching bags and small pads held by a partner. Crouse said he does not focus on footwork as much with the team because of the footwork drills they do in their basketball drills, instead focusing on upper body strength and endurance through right hooks, left crosses and the like.

“It definitely will get your heart rate going, but nothing really compares to the running we do,” Corrigan said. “But it’s a good workout. We work up a good sweat.”

If Rishonda Napier does not pack the hardest punch on the team, she certainly packs the loudest. The 5-foot 5-inch senior point guard attacked video coordinator Adesuwa Ebomwonyi’s pads with a flurry of punches and finishes, gloves stretched skyward, with shouts of “I’m the champ!”

When Corrigan suggested she should become a boxer, Napier replied “I’m a pacifist. I don’t believe in hitting.”

Some Salukis use the Wednesday afternoon boxing sessions as a stress reliever.


“I really like it because I get to hit Kylie [Giebelhausen,]” said sophomore center Ashley Hummel, half-matter-of-factly, half jokingly. “She’s really good, but I’m better. I have a quicker jab, quicker footsteps and I’m more athletic.”

The Dawgs pair up roughly by size, the 6-foot-1 Hummel with the 6-foot-1 junior guard/forward Giebelhausen, 6-foot junior center Celina VanHyfte with 6-foot-1 senior forward Kim Nebo and 5-foot-9 sophomore guard Olivia Bowling with the 5-foot-11 Corrigan. 

Assistant coach Kat Martin said the SIU coaching staff does not worry about players being injured while boxing because of the quality of instruction Crouse and his assistants provide.

In addition to boxing, the team participates in a Zumba workout on Tuesdays. All returning players from the 2015-16 season participate in both activities, with the exception of redshirt freshman forward Tiajaney Hawkins, who is still recovering from a shoulder injury.

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3307