TERRE HAUTE —
The Indiana State women’s basketball players bought into a culture of defense long before practice even started last fall.
With over half of the team’s 2011-2012 scoring deducted by the graduation of Brittany Schoen, Shannon Thomas and Deja Mattox, the Sycamores could either embrace a defensive identity or suffer through a painful season.
Coach Teri Moren added assistant coach Joey Wells to the staff to help instill a defensive philosophy.
And as good as he might be at teaching it, the players deserve credit for becoming a cohesive unit and continuing to progress as the season moved ahead. The Sycamores rank 18th in the NCAA in points allowed after consecutive wins over Creighton and Drake — a homestand last year’s team was swept on during a six-game losing streak.
“In the beginning of the season, we weren’t sure where our scoring was going to come from. [Coach Wells] was just saying if we can keep our opponent from scoring, our scoring would take care of itself,” ISU sophomore Travecia Franklin said. “We’ve worked so hard this season in trying to gut it out on the court. It makes me proud of my teammates.”
A big part of the success defensively is rebounding, where the Sycamores are leading the Missouri Valley Conference with a margin of (+4.9). That’s an area that’s been an Achilles’ heel for many finesse Sycamore teams in the past; even those that won conference titles in 2006 and 2003 were among the worst in the conference on the glass.
The Sycamores are anything but finesse now.
Senior Taylor Whitley sets the tone with rugged hustle plays, but the Sycamores have toughness all over the floor. Racheal Mahan is second in the Valley in double-doubles, and her new postmate Marina Laramie is willing to mix it up.
Junior Anna Munn, the team’s leading scorer, is praised by her teammates for being a vocal leader at the defensive end as well.
“We’re all invested as a team. We have eachother’s back. We know that if somebody gets beat backdoor then we’re going to have help on the opposite side,” said Munn, who ranks third on the team with a 4.6 rebounding average. “We just go in there with whole heart. Even the guards, we know it’s an entire team effort.”
Laramie is averaging 8.8 rebounds since being inserted into the starting lineup in place of injured Jessica Valley. The fiery redhead was slow to contribute during the nonconference after being behind in conditioning, but she’s rising to the occasion.
“Jess was averaging seven rebounds so coach [John] Marcum challenged me: any rebound under 7 [in a game], I have to run miles for. Anything over, he has to run. I’m going to get him in training,” Laramie said after Tuesday’s practice.
Franklin is also a newcomer to the starting lineup. The 5-9 sophomore from Columbus, Ohio, has become an important piece in ISU’s quest to keep making winning plays.
Franklin had seven points, three assists and two steals against Creighton, and chipped in three steals while drawing a charge against Drake.
“Rebounding, get as many deflections as I can, basically just try to heat it up on defense,” said Franklin, who joked about the willingness to sacrifice her body. “I don’t know how much I can stay in that area. I’m a bone away from having half an arm.”
Moren loves the discipline and commitment her team plays with on the defensive end.
“We talk a lot about helping our teammates. We’re all connected. That’s elevating and being in the passing lane to deflect passes or help off penetration,” Moren said.
“I just think it’s the mentality these kids have. Our identity from the beginning has been a defensive team. That starts with getting a missed shot, but they understand the possession always ends with a check-out. It’s something they’ve naturally done. It’s always about heart and effort.”
• Looking for revenge in Evansville — Indiana State (14-8, 6-5) will look to catch Evansville in the MVC standings tonight on the road.
ISU lost 55-54 to the Purple Aces (8-13, 6-4 MVC) last month in Hulman Center on a shot in the final seconds by Khristian Hart, who is out for the season with a torn ACL.
The Purple Aces’ guard had games of 26 and 28 points during January, but coach Oties Epps can still rely on the tough post trio of Mallroy Ladd, Taylor Ware and Chelsea Falkenstein.
Evansville held Mahan to a sub-par outing with 4-of-14 field-goal shooting.
“We’re looking to go in there and get them back,” Mahan said. “They’ve got two really good posts so if we play defense like we do, we should be looking to get a win.”
The Sycamore are 2-3 on the road in MVC play so far, allowing 60.8 points-per-game away from Hulman Center.
“60 points is not terribly bad, I still think I’d rather be in the 50s,” Moren said. “I think the intensity you start out a game should be the same whether you’re home or away. We’ve got a system in place and that should get the results whether we’re in Hulman Center or not.”
TERRE HAUTE —
The Indiana State women’s basketball players bought into a culture of defense long before practice even started last fall.
Ramblin’ On: Sycamores use defensive stops to reach Missouri Valley semifinals
It sounds counter-intuitive, but to go forward in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament you must first get stops. In Friday’s MVC Tournament quarterfinal against Loyola, ISU followed that bit of zen to a tee. The Sycamores never let the Ramblers get comfortable offensively and put a hammer-lock on Loyola standout Milton Doyle. ISU rode its defense to an easy 75-62 victory at Scottrade Center.
ISU baseball looking to carry success home
Indiana State had pitching questions coming into the season, having lost its entire starting staff from a year ago.
So far anyway, those questions have been answered. The Sycamores are 9-1 going into their home opener today against Western Illinois.
Metro sports: Rose-Hulman picks up baseball win
A late run in the eighth-inning broke a 4-all tie and proved to be the game winner for Rockford College in a 5-4 decision over the Rose-Hulman baseball team Friday at the Chain of Lakes Complex.
Indiana State women move within one win from MVC title
Senior Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir had 23 points to lead Indiana State to a 73-71 win at Drake on Thursday. The point guard led four Sycamores in double figures in the win.
Anna Munn, Jasmine Grier and Chelsea Small each chipped in 11 points as ISU shot 10-of-21 from 3-point range as a team.
Sycamores rejuvenated heading into MVC Tournament quarterfinals
Indiana State point guard Jake Odum is sick-and-tired of being sick and tired.
He’s tired of hearing about the team’s three-game losing streak. He’s tired of the Sycamores playing below par. He’s tired of the team not fulfilling its potential.
He plans to do something about it this weekend. Second-seeded ISU begins its Missouri Valley Conference Tournament trek at 7:05 p.m. tonight against either No. 10 Loyola.
Rose-Hulman seniors lead Engineers into NCAA Division III Tournament
For Rose-Hulman’s six senior men’s basketball players, this weekend will mark the beginning of their third and final appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Having left Terre Haute by bus Thursday, Rose (22-5) will open the Division III four-team regional at Hope College in Holland, Mich., today against Wheaton College (19-8) at the unique time of 5:30 p.m.
Coach Jim Shaw’s Engineers are coming off Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) regular-season and tournament championships for the second consecutive year.
ISU women seek top MVC seed
Defense and rebounding are the staples of Teri Moren’s fourth Indiana State team, a squad that hits the road trying to defend and rebound its way to a regular-season conference title. The Sycamores women’s basketball can clinch the No. 1 seed in the Missouri Valley Conference with wins tonight against Drake and Saturday against Northern Iowa.
Nebraska completes sweep of Indiana
Indiana’s slim hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid are all but done, unless the Hoosiers can win the Big Ten Tournament. Nebraska never trailed Wednesday night, completing a season sweep of the Hoosiers with a 70-60 win. The loss ensures a losing conference record for IU (17-13, 7-10 Big Ten) while boosting the Huskers’ chances at an at-large berth.
ISU reserve Smith earns two MVC honors
Indiana State sophomore Khristian Smith has been named to the Missouri Valley Conference’s All-Bench and Most Improved Teams, according to an announcement by the league office Wednesday.
Two Sycamores with Scott during Saturday incident
A Vigo County’s Sheriff’s case report of Brenton Scott’s arrest last Saturday indicated that Scott, an Indiana State basketball player, tried to pass himself off as his twin brother and that two of his teammates were with him at the time of the incident.
Metro Sports: Sycamores to be represented at NCAA indoors
Three members of the Indiana State track and field team will compete in the 2014 NCAA indoor championships March 14-15 at Albuquerque, N.M. Senior Greggmar Swift will represent the men, while sophomore Katie Wise and senior Mary Theisen will represent the women.
Rose meets Wheaton in NCAA opener
Rose-Hulman will open its third straight trip to the NCAA Division III basketball tournament at 5:30 p.m. Friday when the Engineers play Wheaton in a four-team regional hosted by Hope College.
Metro: No ISU baseball today; home opener now Friday
Indiana State’s baseball home opener that was to be played today has been pushed back, according to Sycamore head coach Mitch Hannahs.
ISU's Scott booked for OWI, possession
Indiana State men's basketball player Brenton Scott was booked into the Vigo County Jail on Saturday for operating while intoxicated, possession of marijuana/hash, possession of paraphenalia and false reporting/informing.
Odum can't get roll on game-winning attempt on Senior Day
The storybook was ready to be opened at Hulman Center on Saturday.
Down two with 4.5 seconds to go, Indiana State rebounded a free throw miss by Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle. ISU senior point guard Odum timed his dash perfectly up the floor. He released his shot from just behind the 3-point line at just the right second. The shot was true and online.
TODD GOLDEN: Lansing's belief in his team has not wavered
In the wake of Indiana State’s 71-69 loss to Northern Iowa on Saturday, and the three-game losing streak that comes with it, ISU coach Greg Lansing wanted to get one point across crystal clear in his postgame press conference.
VIDEO: Munn has made her mark on ISU women's program
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.
Rose-Hulman wins third straight HCAC tournament crown
Tied with Hanover 26-26 at halftime of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball championship game Saturday night, host Rose-Hulman knew it had a couple of things in its favor.
Rolling along: Third straight victory helps Sycamores tie for second in MVC
Aside from Teri Moren sticking with her pink Chuck Taylor shoes on the sideline for superstitious reasons, Indiana State’s three-game winning streak can be explained by strong play in nearly every aspect of the game.
Sycamores stay positive in face of adversity
After Indiana State’s 77-59 loss at Illinois State on Wednesday, ISU players had an idea of how the tone of Thursday and Friday’s practices would be prior to today’s regular-season finale against Northern Iowa.
Engineers, Hanover to vie for HCAC title
For the second year in a row, the men’s basketball teams of Rose-Hulman and Hanover will square off for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship in Terre Haute.
Metro: ISU softball win streak reaches 6
Indiana State improved its college softball winning streak to six games Friday by beating Wright State 4-3 and IUPUI 3-2 on the opening day of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic.
Odum's final chapter is here; how will he author the ending?
If you compare a college basketball career to a book, Indiana State point guard Jake Odum has been a page-turner from day one.
Odum has dazzled ISU fans from the time he became a starter during the first weekend of his first season in 2010. The Sycamores have not had a losing season during the Odum era, a run of success unprecedented in ISU’s Division I history.
VIDEO: Indiana State women looking to add to winning streak at home
Indiana State looks to put a three-game winning streak together tonight against Loyola, who topped the Sycamores behind 30 points by senior forward Troy Hambric for one of the Ramblers’ nine wins this season.
The Sycamores’ women’s basketball team stifled Missouri State last Friday and knocked off first-place Wichita State on Sunday for a pair of road wins last weekend. They'll look to build upon that momentum tonight at home.
Sheehey's career-high 30 helps Hoosiers over No. 20 Iowa
Will Sheehey scored 19 of his career-high 30 points in the first half and Stanford Robinson added a career-best 17 to lead Indiana over No. 20 Iowa 93-86 on Thursday night in a game that was postponed last week.
A.J. Reed picks up multiple NCAA baseball honors
Kentucky junior pitcher/first baseman A.J. Reed has been named National Hitter of the Week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and a National Player of the Week by NCAA.com, according to separate announcements.
A member of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch List, the Terre Haute native was named National Hitter of the Week by the NCBWA, with VMI right-hander Reed Garrett earning NCBWA Pitcher of the Week.
Redbirds dominate Sycamores 77-59
Indiana State’s men’s basketball team is running out of answers for its recent woes ... and it’s running out of time to fix them. The slumping Sycamores added defensive problems to their offensive slump on Wednesday at Illinois State. The Redbirds made the Sycamores pay dearly for their poor all-around effort out of the gate as the Sycamores fell 77-59.
Rose coach expects wide-open race for HCAC title
Both Rose-Hulman basketball programs hope their teams will still be talked about in the Wabash Valley media after this weekend when they compete in their Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournaments.
No. 16 Michigan rallies past Purdue
Glenn Robinson III got a late bank shot to roll in as time expired Wednesday night, giving No. 16 Michigan a 77-76 overtime victory at Purdue.
Metro roundup: Hutson awarded USA Track and Field grant
Terre Haute native and 2016 Olympic hopeful Kylie Hutson was awarded a $7,000 grant from the USA Track and Field Foundation.
- More College Headlines
- Ramblin’ On: Sycamores use defensive stops to reach Missouri Valley semifinals