TERRE HAUTE —
Looking to rebound from a loss at Creighton — the favorite to win the Missouri Valley Conference — the Indiana State women’s basketball team may be without leading scorer Anna Munn tonight in Hulman Center.
Southern Illinois (4-10, 1-2 MVC) visits the Sycamores tonight for a game regionally-televised on Fox Sports Midwest.
Munn, scoring 14.7 points-per-game and among the NCAA’s top 30 in 3-pointers per game, suffered what ISU trainer Jeff Pierce called a “mild sprain.”
Munn has shown the same toughness and desire to play through injury as she has when dealing with shoulder and lower-leg injuries earlier in her career. But coach Teri Moren is not ready to set her loose yet.
Munn practiced for the first time Wednesday, but with plenty of games remaining, Moren may not be ready to rush her return.
“I think it’ll be a game-time decision,” Moren said. “She feels better every day. She has to feel 100 percent good about it and not favor it. It’s one of those things, it’s difficult when you’re a competitor like her. As much as she wants to play, sometimes you have to step in and make a decision.”
Munn said after Wednesday’s practice that she plans to be ready to play.
“It feels good now. It just got knocked to the side. Nothing a little bit of rest couldn’t help. We’ll see how it goes [today] in shootaround,” Munn said. “Yeah, if the coaches feel like they need me, I’ll go out and do what I can.”
While the Salukis have been at or near the bottom of the MVC in recent years, the Salukis have talent. Cartesha Macklin is the reigning MVC Newcomer of the Year. The 5-foot-6 guard is tied with Munn for third in the MVC at 14.7 ppg, and her backcourt mate Rishonda Napier tosses in 11.3 per game.
Napier has hit 11-of-18 (61.1 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc during the Salukis’ 1-2 league start, but Jordyn Courier tops that accuracy with 10-of-16 (62.5 percent) shooting.
“They have two fantastic guards. [Macklin’s] sidekick’s a little freshman that is speedy like her, can shoot it from the outside,” Moren said. “I like their 4 and 5 players [Azia Washington and Dyana Pierre] too. I think they’re athletic and long.”
Sunday’s opponent, in-state rival Evansville, is off to a 2-1 start in the MVC, the only blemish a 70-63 loss to Creighton. The Purple Aces are 4-10 overall, including an eight-game losing streak in November and December.
But Mallory Ladd, an Evansville native and Valparaiso transfer, seems to have provided a spark to the Purple Aces. Ladd is averaging 15.6 points has played just five games after sitting out last semester due to NCAA transfer rules. The 6-foot-1 forward has had a double-double in each one. She’s also made 37 consecutive free throws.
The key to a successful weekend, Munn said, is to be the aggressor on the defensive end for 40 minutes each game.
“We need to jump out like we did on defense against Drake. We kind of lost that momentum at Creighton,” said Munn, who credited leadership from players and coaches for the team’s success in that regard this season. “It comes down to passion that’s behid all of our coaches. That makes it easier to go hard all the time. We’ve just got to get back to our defensive principles and we’ll be alright.”