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.
Abrams leads Illini over IU in Big Ten tournament
Now, Indiana waits.
To see if the NIT wants the Hoosiers for an at-large berth.
To see if Noah Vonleh will head to the NBA after one season in Bloomington.
No. 24 Ohio State holds off Purdue 63-61
Purdue men’s basketball coach Matt Painter appreciated his team’s effort Thursday.
He still didn’t like the numbers on the box score — or the scoreboard.
Aaron Craft and LaQuinton Ross combined to score nine points in a late 12-4 run that gave No. 24 Ohio State control and the Buckeyes held on for a 63-61 win — only after Terone Johnson’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer came up short in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
ISU’s Abdul-Qaadir, Munn All-MVC selections
Senior guards Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir and Anna Munn have both been named to Missouri Valley Conference All-Conference teams, announced by the league on Wednesday. Abdul-Qaadir earned a spot on the first-team while Munn was named honorable mention.
History in making?: Indiana, Purdue need to reverse recent trends to keep offseason hopes alive
The state’s two Big Ten schools could begin the offseason as soon as tonight, depending on how they fare in the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament.
Metro sports: ‘Lucky Lou’ strikes again on golf course
Retired Public Service Indiana employee Lou Mundell, a lifelong resident of Terre Haute, posted the fifth hole-in-one of his life Tuesday afternoon at the Harder Hall Country Club golf course in his winter home of Sebring.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball splits pair in Florida
Pitching dominated Tuesday’s opening day of play in the Rebel Spring Games for the Indiana State softball team, which defeated Bucknell 2-0 before falling 2-0 to Creighton.
“The girls did a great job in the first game getting a couple runs,” ISU coach Shane Bouman said. “We leaned on [sophomore] Yvette Alvarez who pitched really well. We probably got as much as we could out of her and probably should have changed earlier so put that on me. We have a couple little things we can clean up and get a little better and we will be ready to go tomorrow.”
Oh snap: Reed's 18-game hitting streak falls in No. 20 UK's loss at No. 16 IU
No. 16 Indiana mounted two-run rallies in the first and fourth innings and the Hoosiers ended the hitting streak of Terre Haute native A.J. Reed at 18 games to post a 7-2 win over No. 20 Kentucky on Tuesday.
Despite going hitless, Reed remains the NCAA leader in home runs (8) and RBI (28) for a potent Wildcats’ offense.
Kentucky (13-4) dropped its first game with the Hoosiers in the last four meetings, with the meeting marking the first time in modern UK history (2003-present) that the two teams faced off as top-20 foes.
Munn named MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Indiana State leads the Missouri Valley with six of the MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards after Anna Munn earned the recognition Tuesday for the 2013-14 season.
Munn joins Kourtney Mennen (2003), Melanie Boeglin (2006), Laura Rudolphi (2007) and Kelsey Luna (2009 and 2010) as winners of the award, which began in 2002.
ISU win streak at 12
Ryan Keaffaber recorded his sixth save in seven opportunities Monday as Indiana State won its 12th straight college baseball game, holding off a rally by visiting Western Illinois for a 7-4 victory on Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.
Another Rose freshman making big splash
The Rose-Hulman men’s swimming team received a much-needed boost last season when a talented freshman from Ohio entered to set school records, rack up conference titles and qualify for the NCAA Division III championships. So when the Rose women’s swimming team needed a boost this season, what did it do? Yep, the Engineers found another talented freshman from Ohio to do pretty much the same things.
Metro sports: Indiana State's Abdul-Qaadir honored by MVC again
Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir of Indiana State has been named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week for women’s basketball, the league announced Monday.
Guts, sweat, tears: Sycamores fall to perfect Shockers
No one on Indiana State’s men’s basketball needed to say a word about the Sycamores’ 83-69 loss to Wichita State in Sunday’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game.
Todd Golden: Sycamores ran with the best
It’s hard to run with Secretariat. Secretariat, for the uninitiated, won horse racing’s Triple Crown in 1973 and famously stormed to victory in the Belmont Stakes by an unfathomable 31 lengths. Secretariat is widely considered to be the greatest thoroughbred of all time, and his Belmont performance is one of sports’ all-time greatest moments. In Missouri Valley Conference terms, Wichita State is Secretariat.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Odum rises to WSU challenge
When you’re getting ready to play the No. 2 team in the country — the undefeated No. 2 team in the country and the best Missouri Valley Conference team in a generation — the unwritten rule says you’re not supposed to rile them. That you’re not supposed to poke the hornet’s nest.
Clock problems delay start of Indiana State semifinal game
Time stood still in Scottrade Center on Saturday.
Not by design.
Sycamores advance to Arch Madness title game
No one said advancing to the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball tournament championship game was going to be easy.
ISU women grab share of MVC regular-season title
The preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite lived up to its expectations, as the Indiana State women’s basketball team grabbed a piece of the regular-season title with an 85-72 triumph over host Northern Iowa on Saturday afternoon inside McLeod Center.
Robinson leads No. 12 Michigan over Indiana
Glenn Robinson scored 20 points, including a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 1:10 to play, and Jordan Morgan had a double-double in his final home game to help No. 12 Michigan finish off its Big Ten championship season with an 84-80 victory over Indiana on Saturday night.
Michigan (23-7 15-3) avenged last year’s defeat in the last game of the regular season. In that game, Morgan’s tap-in rolled off the rim as time expired, giving the Hoosiers the victory and costing the Wolverines a share of the conference title.
ISU headed to MVC title game
Indiana State defeated Southern Illinois 62-59 on Saturday to advance to Arch Madness championship game.
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.
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