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CARBONDALE — Senior guard Olivia Bowling has played her final game for SIU's women's basketball team, according to coach Cindy Stein.

Bowling left the program after the spring semester in what Stein described as a mutual decision. The 5-foot-9 combo guard from New Haven, Kentucky, sat out last season as a medical redshirt after breaking her foot during the summer and missing some practice time early in the season due to illness. She played in 30 games off the bench as a sophomore in 2016-17, when the Salukis competed in the Women's Basketball Invitational for the second straight year.

"She's not sure she wants to continue playing," Stein said. "She wasn't fond of school, so it was kind of one of those things. She left just to kind of figure out what she wanted to do with her life, so she just went home."

Bowling played in 59 games over two seasons (2015-17) with 78 points, 49 assists, 49 turnovers, and 11 turnovers. She scored a career-high 11 points in a win over Morehead State in 2015 and handed out a career-high four assists twice, against Southeast Missouri State in 2016 and at Loyola in March of 2017.

If Bowling decides to play again, she would have two years of eligibility if she dropped down a level to Division II or Division III. If she tried to play another year in Division I, she would have to sit out one season and would only be able to play one more year.

SIU returns four starters and seven of its top-eight scorers from last season's 16-13 squad. The Salukis finished 11-7 in the Missouri Valley Conference (fourth place) but missed the postseason for the first time in three years. Senior guard/forward Kylie Giebelhausen was the team's only senior.

Giebelhausen, one of only five players in school history to repeat as a first team all-conference pick, is the only one in program history to score at least 1,000 points, grab at least 500 rebounds, and record at least 300 assists, 100 steals and 100 blocks. 

Giebelhausen and senior forward Nicole Martin were named to the all-conference first team. Sophomore forward Abby Brockmeyer was named the MVC freshman of the year, and sophomore guard Makenzie Silvey joined Brockmeyer on the Valley's All-Freshman Team.

Stein has 15 players for the first time in her tenure here after signing junior transfer Gabby Walker. Walker, a 6-foot forward from Division II Lindenwood, averaged 11.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game last season for the Lions. Walker was the MVP of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) tournament after leading Lindenwood to four straight wins.


On Twitter: @THefferman


Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

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