CARBONDALE — The SIU women's basketball team takes its three-game winning streak on the road this weekend in Iowa, beginning Friday night at Missouri Valley Conference-leading Drake.
The defending league champs (14-7, 9-0 MVC) have won 31 straight conference games and nine straight, overall, heading into tonight's 7 p.m. tipoff against the Salukis (12-8, 7-2) at the Knapp Center. The game is scheduled to air on WVZA 105.1 FM and ESPN3.
SIU tied its longest winning streak of the season with last week's 71-69 overtime win over Missouri State. The Salukis moved to 3-0 in overtime this season and raised their RPI to 140, third-best in the league. Drake (100) and Missouri State (128) remain ahead of SIU.
Drake leads the all-time series against SIU 56-28. The Bulldogs are 32-7 against the Salukis on their home floor. SIU's 77-67 win at the Knapp Center on Jan. 1, 2016, was its first win in Des Moines since the 2006-07 season. The Bulldogs have won 19 of the last 21 meetings against the Salukis on their home court.
The Bulldogs come into Friday's contest leading the nation in assists per game (22.6) and are second in total assists at 474. Drake ranks in the top 20 nationally in field goal percentage (12th, 47.2 percent) and scoring (16th, 82.4 points per game). The Bulldogs lead the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.43), rebounds (841), scoring margin (11.2) and scoring offense.
The Bulldogs also make the most 3-pointers per game (8.8) in the league. Sara Rhine and Becca Hittner both rank in the top five of the MVC in points per game. Rhine is currently third, as she is shooting at a 54.9 percent clip and averaging 15.6 points per game, while Hittner is right behind her in fourth at 15.4 points per game.
SIU's Kylie Giebelhausen is averaging 10 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in seven career meetings against the Bulldogs. Giebelhausen has reached double figures in five of her seven career games against Drake, including 10 points and five rebounds in SIU's 77-67 win at Drake on Jan. 1, 2016. Nicole Martin is averaging 8.3 points and 6.6 rebounds in three career meetings against Drake.
Drake beat SIU 75-64 in Carbondale Jan. 7. Hittner scored 15 and grabbed seven rebounds for the Bulldogs, who turned 25 Saluki turnovers into 34 points. Giebelhausen and Makenzie Silvey led SIU with 13 points each. Martin added 12 points and a team-high seven boards.
SIU completes its annual Iowa weekend with a road game at Northern Iowa Sunday at 2 p.m.