News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 11, 2014

ISU notebook: Moren's team excited for 'We Back Pat' game

Craig Pearson
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Today’s game against Illinois State is the chance for players and fans to show support for legendary former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Fans are asked to wear purple to the “We Back Pat” game.

The Sycamores were able to practice on the court named in Summitt’s honor in Knoxville, Tenn., on their way to play East Tennessee State.

“To be on that floor and be on the same floor as a legend like Pat Summitt, that’s amazing. We’re all supportive of her against her disease,” ISU guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir said.

Coach Teri Moren said it was a huge blow to the women’s game when Summitt retired from coaching as the NCAA’s all-time wins leader, men’s or women’s.

“Especially for women like myself, Pat is who you aspire to be like in the game. I’ve ran into her out on the recruiting trail, but have really just observed everything she’s done at Tennessee from afar. Read every one of her books,” Moren said. “So she’s a role model for not just coaches but for a lot of young females that aspire to be great. No one’s really done it better than she has.”

• Redbirds’ coach looking for consistency — Illinois State coach Barb Smith has showed at times it can be a dangerous team. The Redbirds knocked off Southeastern Conference foe Florida by a 68-64 score early in the season at The Bahamas. The young Redbirds (2-10) haven’t been consistent.

“We are very young and very inexperienced,” Smith said last week. “We’re just trying to get better than we were yesterday. Different people have stepped up at different times. We’ve had some adversity. [Our leaders] have kept our team working hard and getting after it.”

• Dickey leading league in scoring — Evansville freshman Sara Dickey is the top scorer in the Missouri Valley when looking at overall games this season.

The former Riverton Parke standout averages 17.8 points through 14 games for the Purple Aces. Dickey is also fourth in the league in free-throw shooting at 78.5 percent. Her 62 made foul shots rank second in the league. ISU’s Anna Munn is the league’s most accurate free-throw shooter, making 49-of-53 for 92.5 percent.

Evansville coach Otties Epps said Dickey asserted herself when returning starter Khristian Hart went out with an injury.

“If she wasn’t out, I’m not sure Sara would have become the player she has so quickly,” Epps said. “Given the fact that we lost our leading scorer from the season prior, there was room for somebody to step up.”

Indiana State plays Thursday at Evansville.