EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - As Wendy Hedberg begins what is her final season at the helm of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville women's basketball program, she expects her team to be ready to go and compete when they take the floor in their first game of the year.
"We have a lot of experience and upperclassmen. So from that standpoint, we should know what we are about to get into this season and how competitive it will be this year. We should be ready to go," said Hedberg.
With four starters returning from last year's team and a handful of players joining the roster who already have big-game experience, the Cougars should be able to compete right out of the gate with teams.
Last year, the Cougars posted a 20-9 overall and 13-6 Great Lakes Valley Conference record. SIUE made an appearance in the NCAA tournament before being ousted by GLVC opponent Drury.
Whitney Sykes (Pontoon Beach) and Amber Shelton (Edwardsville) led the Cougars in the exhibition game against Bradley University. Sykes scored 12 points to go along with here eight rebounds. Shelton went 13 for 19 from the field to score 32 points. Bradley won the game 69-66.
Up first for the Cougars is the Central Missouri Classic in Warrensburg, Mo. In the tournament, the Cougars will face the Central Missouri Jennies and the Harris-Stowe Hornets.
"Central Missouri should be a good match for us. They play in a very competitive conference and are well-coached," said Hedberg.
This will mark the 13th meeting between the Cougars and Jennies. The last Cougar win against UCM was Nov. 18, 2000, when SIUE won the game 74-71. The Jennies lead the all-time series 9-3. Tip-off for Friday's game is scheduled for 7 p.m.
On Saturday, the Cougars will take on Harris-Stowe at 5:30 pm. This is the 16th meeting between the two schools. SIUE has a perfect 15-0 record against the Hornets.