Southern Illinois women's basketball coach confident in young team
After a 16-15 season last year, the Southern Illinois University women’s basketball team is gearing up for the season, and head coach Cindy Stein told Southeast Illinois News she is looking forward to the new season.
“I like my team, and I think there’s a lot of good pieces,” she said. “We are awfully young, and any experience we can get early in the season will hopefully pay off later in the year.”
There are a lot of fresh faces for the Salukis this year, with only three upperclassmen. Stein said that despite having a large number of freshman on the team, she is confident that they will perform well during the season.
“All of our freshmen should be pretty good," she said. "They’re all going to get playing time. We don’t really have anyone who is slouching off, and I feel like our depth will be good.”
The lone senior on the team is Kylie Giebelhausen, who Stein said should have a strong season. Last season, Giebelhausen was named to the first team All-MVC. She also ranked seventh in the MVC in scoring. Stein said she thinks Giebelhausen will bring strong leadership skills to the team, as well.
Stein said she thinks incoming freshman Abby Brockmeyer, who comes to Carbondale from Litchfield High School, will have a good season for the Salukis. In high school, Brockmeyer was named to the All-State team three times and averaged a double-double in all four seasons at Litchfield.
Another player to watch this year is sophomore Nicole Martin. Last year, she played in all 31 games for SIU and started 16 games. Martin averaged seven points and five rebounds and was named to the All-Freshman team.
SIU started its season with two exhibition games, first against Kentucky Wesleyan College and then Lindenwood University-Belleville. The Salukis won both games easily. SIU started the regular season off right, and in the first regular season game knocked off the University of Tennessee at Martin, 84-72. Giebelhausen led the team in scoring with 25 points on the night and was 10-14 from the field.
In the second game of the year, SIU headed south to take on the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The first half of the game was back and forth and UAB took a three-point lead into the locker room at the half. The Blazers came out hot in the third quarter and outscored SIU 25-13 in the third frame to take control of the game on the way to a 76-66 win. Martin led the Salukis with 18 points, and Brockmeyer contributed 17 points for SIU in the loss.
Stein said she is looking forward to seeing how her team performs during the regular season and stresses to her team that every game is important.
“We have some tough games on the schedule, but I think we have a good team this year," Stein said. "They all have put in a lot of work and are working together well.”
Some key games on the schedule this year include matchups against Western Kentucky University, Morehead State University and the University of Northern Iowa. The regular season will wrap up March 3, and the MVC tournament will get underway March 8 in Moline.