TERRE HAUTE —
Anna Munn has been a dependable leader in the Indiana State women’s basketball program. Her leadership has helped coach Teri Moren build to back-to-back 10-or-more win seasons in the Missouri Valley the last two years.
“She and I came into the Sycamore family at the same time,” Moren said. “There’s no other player, for me as a coach here, that’s had a bigger impact on our program. Not to take anything away from the Melanie Boeglins, the Kristen Weddles, nobody since I’ve been here has had a bigger impact.”
Moren needed a player to help her regain some momentum for a program that had settled into mediocrity with below .500 MVC seasons in two of the three years before Moren arrived.
“When we took over, There was a lot of things, the atmosphere, the culture, the work ethic, those three things needed to change the most. Anna’s always been two-feet in, she’s always been supportive of me and my staff in every decision we made,” Moren said.
The Indianapolis native has put her stamp on the record books.
• With 212 career 3-pointers, Munn will surpass Lisa Verhoff for fourth in ISU history and 22nd in the history of the conference.
• Her 85.3 percentage at the free-throw line ranks 11th in Missouri Valley history and third in ISU history behind Verhoff (89.4) and Kourtney Mennen (87.2).
• Her 1,228 career points rank her 16th in ISU history.
n Munn ranks 9th in the NCAA in free-throw percentage at 88.5 percent.
But it’s the example she’s set for her teammates that Moren has valued and respected more than anything.
“She’s a gym rat. She beats us into the office about 8:15 every morning to get her shots up. She’s never wavered in the way she approaches her work,” Moren said. “She’s a quiet leader but never allows herself and her teammates to get down. She’s always the one in the timeouts coaching them up ... to stay positive, to move on to the next play. There’s not a lot of kids that are 18, 19, 21-year-old kids that are consistent.”
Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir has clearly enjoyed sharing senior leadership with Munn. The backcourt duo will partake in the Senior Day festivities together today as the Sycamores take on Bradley looking for a fourth straight win.
“I appreciated her letting me come in and sharing that leadership position with me. It’s been a pleasure to actually play with somebody that works hard every day on the court and wants the best for the team. It’s been fun,” Abdul-Qaadir said.
Munn’s importance to this year’s team was never more evident than in recent losses at Illinois State and at home to Evansville when Munn pushed herself back a little early from a knee injury.
“Anna really keeps us together with communication,” ISU sophomore Marina Laramie said. “Without her, we were struggling in the games just talking to each other. She is that voice out there that keeps us together and keeps us talking. It’s been so helpful having her back, obviously.
“[Today is] Senior Day and it’s going to be a good one, and we’re going to get the win for her and finish out the season strong. It’ obviously sad that we’re not going to have her next year, so we’re just going to make the most of this season.”
It’s not been a perfect senior year for Munn by any means. ISU was up-and-down in the nonconference, losing to teams the Sycamores thought they would beat but also knocking off a solid team like Northwestern of the Big Ten.
“It was a slow start. With eight or nine new girls, that was to be expected,” Munn said. “Right now, we’re on a little bit of a roll. Not knowing everyone at the beginning of the year and then building relationships, that’s what it’s all about.”
Munn’s two-game absence and ISU’s slump of three losses in four games might have helped ISU find its way.
“You never like to sit out, in conference especially. Even when I was out, they got stronger. It took a couple losses for us to see what we really needed to work on, our weaknesses, especially at the defensive end. And I think we’ve fixed that going into the last couple games of conference,” Munn said.
There’s plenty of basketball left for Munn to put an even bigger stamp on the program. with three games in the regular-season and — the Sycamores hope — three more in St. Charles for the MVC Tournament.
“She’s special in the way she carries herself, just not from basketball perspective,” Moren said. “She’s a tremendous student, great teammate, great daughter, great sister. She’s just a really special kid. What I’m going to miss is every single day, her consistency, her loyalty, her attitude.”