CARBONDALE (KENDRA SHEEHAN WSIL SPORTS) — SIU women’s basketball has won 5 of their last six games and are 2-0 in the Missouri Valley. They won their last two with out their leading scorers.
“Obviously, we don’t want to devalue Mac (Makenzie Silvey) or Abby (Brockmeyer) because they’re terrific players, but with the fact that we can, you know, win a conference game without them,” SIU Women’s Head Basketball Coach Cindy Stein said. “I felt like this game all along without those two was going to make us a better team, whether we won or lost just because we will to put kids in positions that have not been in, we were gonna have to rely on them for scoring. The pressure was going to be on them to get the plays done defensively and offensively and they had to step up. And they did.”
“I think it definitely gives us a lot of confidence,” SIU junior guard Caitlin Link said. “A lot of people stepped up and that’s really what we needed. It’s gonna be really nice knowing that we’re gonna have him back soon. Definitely with extra on offense. But I think it definitely gave a team a lot more confidence.”
SIU plays an unselfish game, the team dished out a season high 23 assists on 27 made buckets on Saturday.
“Ball movement for us is just so important,” Stein said. “And not just ball movement, but people movement. And our kids are finally learning where they need to be, you know, you put in X amount of plays, and kids sometimes will stand in spots, and people take those spots away. You know, it’s taken us a little bit to figure that out. And just, we’ve got some great passers on this team.”
“And obviously, you’re going to win the game the more assists you have, the better you’re going to play, obviously,” Link said. “But our team is very unselfish. And I think every one of us would say that and we know that with those assists, that’s what’s gonna make us win every single game.”
Payton McAllister shined in the salukis conference debut leading the team in points per game with 16 and 17, respectively. Junior guard Caitlin link chipped in with double figures, but added more value to the game than just scoring.
“I will tell you that when Caitlin’s just taking the shot that kind of you know, is given to her she’s a really good shooter,” Stein said. “She gets herself in trouble sometimes looking for that shot. But she’s really come around in these last two games and and take in more what the defense has given her. But, you know, the thing that I’m most proud of Link about is the fact of her rebounds. She got in there and mixed it up. And that’s that physical part of the play that I really thought link really excelled in.”
The salukis have a chance to clean some things up in practice these next few days before they take on Bradley on Friday and Saturday.