By: David Bell
The Saluki women, 5th in the conference, hosted the Drake Bulldogs, 1st in the conference, for an inter-conference match up. Drake opened up the scoring with a quick two but Southern answered back with a 3 to take the lead. Drake would come back however to take the lead at the end of the 1st quarter with a score of 16-13. Southern answered back in the second quarter to take and hold the lead at the half ending the half with a three point buzzer beater by Kristen Nelson to take a 35-31 point lead. The Bulldogs’ star forward Lizzy Wendell was held to 10 points in the first half to lead all scorers. Kim Nebo of the Salukis would lead her team with 5 points in the half. In the 3rd quarter Drake came back to tie the game by the end of it at 50 for each side. Once the fourth quarter came around Southern simply couldn’t keep up with the Bulldogs scoring. The Bulldogs would take their largest lead of the night, 16, and it was simply too much for southern to overcome as they fell 71-60 to end the night.
The Bulldogs keep their spot at 1st in the conference and bring their winning streak in the conference to 10 straight. Southern falls to 4-6 in the conference and 10-11 on the year. After the game Rishonda Napier said “we played really well for 32 minutes,” and attributed their struggles in the 4th quarter to “lapses in communication.” Cindy Stein, head coach of the Salukis, attributed the success for the first three quarters by saying she “felt if the game was ugly we had a chance.” However in the end, once both Stein and Napier admit the Salukis lost their confidence, the women were missing one key factor that they would need to continue on. Coach Stein put it best when she stated “leadership has got to come in.”
By: Matt Schneider
On a night that SIU celebrated inducting six members into the Hall of Fame they faced the Missouri State Bears. The Bears came into Carbondale with a record of 14-8 and are coming off a close game at home against Drake where they lost in overtime 71-72. Southern Illinois came into Saturday night’s contest on a three game losing streak and most recently was embarrassed by in Wichita State 45-87. This was also a big contest since SIU head coach Barry Hinson was the former coach at Missouri State and Missouri State head coach Paul Lusk was a player at SIU.
The story in the first half was how Missouri State just could not miss a shot. The Bears shot 17-27 from the field for 63 percent and were 4-9 from behind the three-point line. The Salukis struggled in the first half only shooting 46 percent and were unable to make anything from behind the three-point line. Southern Illinois was able to weather the storm of shooting from the Bears that helped put them up 40-28 heading to halftime.
Sean O’Brien said after the game that the talk at halftime was all about defense and that showed right away. SIU stormed out of the half on an 8-0 run before Missouri State called a timeout. Missouri State had a tough time scoring. They were 10-29 in the second half for only 35 percent. Sean Lloyd hit a three to give SIU the lead 53-51. After that SIU only lost the lead once but regained it on the next possession on a Sean Lloyd three. Jarrid Rhodes hit a three to tie the game at 69 with 13.6 seconds in regulation. Mike Rodriguez missed a jumper and Leo Vincent missed the tip in right before the buzzer.
In overtime SIU got off to a fast start by getting out to a four-point lead. SIU was forced to make free throws and they did. In overtime they were 8-10 from the line and Lloyd was able to knock down four foul shots to essentially ice the game. Alize Johnson knocked down a half-court shot with .4 seconds on the clock to make it a 1-point game but it wasn’t enough as SIU won a great game in front of a great crowd 85-84.
Even though Missouri State scored 25 bench points to only ten for SIU. SIU was not only able to get to the line but also make those shots. They attempted 26 free throws and made 19. Missouri State went to line only 15 times and made 13 of them. SIU coach Barry Hinson said that “this game was huge for us. This was essentially a must win to stay in the top half of the MVC.” Hinson also said that this was one of O’Brien’s best games ever. O’Brien finished with 24 points nine rebounds and six assists in 39 minutes. Sean Lloyd finished with 15 points. Armon Fletcher had a double-double with ten points and eleven rebounds. Thik Bol and Mike Rodriguez also had double digits in points. Alize Johnson led the Bears with 26 points and was 4-6 for three. Missouri State fell to 14-9 overall and 5-5 in conference play. SIU is now 12-11 and 5-5 in the MVC. SIU will play Bradley on Wednesday at home. Bradley comes into Carbondale 8-15. You can listen to the game on WIDB.net The Revolution starting at 7 pm.
by Peter Bobrinskoy
The Chicago Bears have finished the 2016 season with a 3-13 record and now look in to an offseason that faces many questions. Bears fans have plenty of reasons to be optimistic and pessimistic when they ask themselves if the Bears front office can finally get it together and show the improvement needed for a playoff run in 2017. This the complete guide of reasons why the Bears will either improve next year or continue to be the irrelevant franchise they find themselves in today. Are better days ahead?
Reasons to be optimistic
• The Bears had an NFL leading 19 players on the Injured Reserve list by the end of the season. No team that loses 19 players has a chance to compete at a high level in the NFL. It is not likely that the Bears will lose 19 players in the 2017 season. This is a big “if” but “if” the Bears can get Kyle Long, Kyle Fuller, Danny Trevathan, Kevin Miller, Eddie Goldman, and Lamar Houston to come back fully healthy and be as good as they were before they their injuries, then the Bears will be in much better shape.
• Jordan Howard. Jordan Howard was a tank this season who broke the Bears rookie rushing record that was held by Matt Forte. He finished second in the NFL in rushing this season with 1,313 yards behind only Ezekiel Elliott. If the Bears running game does not take a step back next season, which it shouldn’t with Kyle Long and Hronis Grasu coming back, then the Bears offense will be somewhat competent.
• The Bears have the 3rd overall draft pick in the NFL draft and have not had a draft pick this high since 1972 where they picked Lionel Antoine out of Southern Illinois. A chance of a high octane playmaker is something the Bears could use for many years to come with this pick.
Reasons to be pessimistic
• Ryan Pace is still the General Manager of this team. Ryan Pace has not shown enough in his first two seasons as the Bears GM to show fans that he is the right man for this job and that better days are ahead. His biggest problem is that he is making the same mistake that previous Bears General Managers’ Jerry Angelo and Phil Emery made. And that is his reliance on Free Agency and not putting all of the Bears chips in the NFL Draft basket. Unlike the Seahawks, the Patriots, the Packers, the Steelers, the Ravens, and the Chiefs who all stay out of free agency for the most part in order to gain compensation draft picks, Pace has shown us that his approach is to be more similar to the Jets, the Redskins, and the Eagles’ front offices where he thinks he can be consistent by trying to buy success with the signing of other teams’ players.
• The lack of stability at the quarterback position. Jay Cutler will most likely be traded or cut this offseason due to the guaranteed money on his contract expiring and the fact that if the Bears release him, it will only be a $2 million hit on the Bears salary cap. So the Bears are back to trying to find that franchise quarterback they have not had since Sid Luckman.
• This team looks a lot like the 2015 San Diego Chargers. The 2015 San Diego Chargers were in the exact same spot as the 2016 Chicago Bears. The 2015 Chargers were crushed by injuries, lost so many close games that they blew late in the 4th quarter, received the 3rd pick in the Draft, and it resulted in a 5-11 season this year which resulted in Head Coach Mike McCoy being fired. Their situation last year is way too similar to the Bears right now.
• Chairman George McCaskey said today on ESPN 1000 Waddle and Silvy that he has no intention of ever selling the team.
• With John Fox on the hot seat, it will be hard for him to find top level position coaches for the Bears due to the uncertainty that he could be fired at the end of next season. These position coaches have family’s and big commitments. So the possibility of them along with John Fox being fired after one season if the Bears do not make significant progress may not sound that great to them.
So here we are. Ryan Pace has an essential offseason on his hands with many questions. What will he do with Cutler? Will he trade back in the draft? Will he mistakenly give in to free agency again? Will he finally draft a quarterback? It is going to be very interesting to see the route Pace takes while trying to rebuild this team and get it back to relevancy.
by Peter Bobrinskoy
On November 21, 2016 at 1:37 pm, Chicago Tribune Bears Reporter Brad Biggs tweeted out that Jay Cutler had suffered a possible season ending shoulder injury. Many Bears fans asked if that meant the Giants loss was the last game Jay Cutler will ever play in a Bears uniform again.
Eight years ago when Jay Cutler was traded to the Bears from the Denver Broncos, Chicago thought that it was cured from being a quarterback-starved franchise. However, here we are in 2016 with only one playoff win, three head coaches, three general managers, and six offensive coordinators in that time. Throughout these eight years, there have been many critics, excuses, praise, and hatred for Jay Cutler. The excuses started that he didn’t have good enough receivers, then it was that his offensive line was not good enough, then it was that his offensive coordinator wasn’t efficient enough. However then 2014 happened and all of the excuses were out. Prior to that season, people believed the 2014 Bears had everything it needed to be one of the best offenses in football. Alshon Jeffrey, Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennet, Matt Forte, an above average offensive line, there were no more excuses. It was time for Jay Cutler to finally step to the plate and take the Bears to the playoffs… The Bears won five games that year and Marc Trestman and Phil Emery were fired at the end of the season and Brandon Marshall was traded.
Since then Cutler has been highly criticized and Bears fans have felt that they have had enough of Cutler and want him gone.
Here’s the problem though. Is that if you get rid of Cutler at the end of this season, it will not make a difference to the Bears franchise. The source of the problem for the Bears lack of success the past ten years goes way beyond Cutler. Jay Cutler is not a great quarterback (there I said it). However he is just a small source of the problem. The problem lies with George McCaskey and the horrendous management in the Bears front office. See it doesn’t matter if the Bears get rid of Cutler because as long as George McCaskey keeps hiring terrible General Managers like Phil Emery and Ryan Pace, the Bears will continue to be the irrelevant franchise that they are. The Bears biggest problem is that their general managers are always way too involved in free agency, do not try to gain compensation draft picks, trade up in the draft far too much, rarely trade back in the draft in order to receive more picks, and their lack of player development.
Until Ryan Pace or whoever the next Bears General Manager is learns to stop investing so much in other teams’ free agents and learns what it takes to be successful with the NFL draft, it will not matter who the Bears quarterback is. Yes, Jay Cutler’s performance has not been where it needs to be but he is not the biggest source of the problem. Bears fans, stop putting all of the blame on the quarterback and start holding ownership and management accountable.