Fifteen home games, plus two exhibition contests, and a marquee matchup against Big Ten foe Illinois are some of the highlights of the SIU women’s basketball schedule that was released on Wednesday.
The Salukis will begin coach Cindy Stein’s first season six years removed from its last winning campaign in 2006-07. SIU ended its 2012-13 season with a 5-26 record and a loss to former Missouri Valley Conference foe Creighton in the MVC tournament quarterfinals in March.
“I think it’s a good schedule for us in that it’s a different array of styles and basketball,” Stein said. “We’ll be road-tested by the time we start conference play and if you want to be successful, you have to win on the road anyway.”
SIU will play two exhibition games at SIU Arena against Maryville (Oct. 25) and Lindenwood (Nov. 2).
“What I like to do in exhibitions is see who plays well together,” Stein said. “During the course of practice, you dabble a bit, but during games all hell can break loose and you need to see who can play well in front of each other.”
The Salukis will begin the regular season Nov. 8 against Wright State and will face Illinois on Nov. 21 as part of a five-game road trip. SIU will also have a six-game homestand that starts Dec. 16 against Eastern Illinois and lasts through the start of MVC play against Bradley and league newcomer Loyola the first weekend of January.
SIU and Illinois signed a three-year contract that will see the Salukis visit Champaign twice. The Fighting Illini finished 19-14 and 9-7 in the Big Ten in 2012-13.
“The Illinois game was already done before (the coaching staff) got here, but I thought it was a great addition,” Stein said.
Stein said she hopes to add Memphis to its nonconference schedule in future years as well as two tournaments. SIU will participate in the MVC tournament March 13-16 at The Family Arena in Saint Charles, Mo.
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