TERRE HAUTE —
Coach Teri Moren termed it “a tale of two halves.” Anna Munn chalked it up as “just one of those nights.”
Whatever the explanation, Indiana State’s 53-40 win over South Alabama in women’s college basketball Saturday evening in Hulman Center was anything but ordinary.
The Sycamores scored 11 points in the first half — getting only a steal and layup in more than 10 minutes and getting only two baskets in almost 15 minutes — and 42 in the second.
They shot 18 percent from the field, 14 percent from 3-point range and were 0 for 6 at the foul line before intermission but were well over 50 percent from the floor for most of the second period and hit 5 of 10 from beyond and arc in the last 20 minutes (free throw shooting improved, but not much).
But as much as Moren wants to see her team’s offense improve — “Our goal is to shoot 45 percent [from the field],” she said afterward — it’s still a long way from being the Sycamores’ calling card.
As ridiculously bad as ISU was on offense in the first half, it was ridiculously good defensively. Even though the Sycamores went from having four points at the first media timeout to just eight points at the media timeout 12 minutes later, they were actually ahead 8-7 at that point.
Natasha Zurek came off the bench to provide a conspicuous defensive presence and Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir seemed to be in every passing lane, but there were no slackers in white uniforms. “We had 24 deflections at the half,” Munn said afterward. “That’s unbelievable for us.”
South Alabama warmed to the task in the last four minutes of the half, scoring eight points, but when Munn hit her team’s first 3-pointer at 2:39 ISU actually had another lead at 11-10. It was defense that kept the home team within 15-11 at the break and, the Sycamores said after the game, it was defense that got them going in the second half.
Two free throws had the visitors ahead 17-11, but then ISU put scores back-to-back — another 3-pointer by Munn, then a basket by Abdul-Qaadir.
The Jaguars scored twice in a row themselves, building their lead to 21-16, but momentum swung when Munn got another 3-pointer while Marina Laramie was being fouled under the basket. Getting the ball in addition to the three points, the Sycamores tied the score on Munn’s two free throws.
South Alabama had one more lead, on two free throws by Ronneka Robertson, but Abdul-Qaadir drove for a three-point play that gave ISU its first second-half lead. Munn added a third 3-pointer, and then the rest of the team relaxed and played offense themselves. With less than four minutes to go, ISU had a 49-29 lead after going on a 33-8 run.
“We’re the two leaders,” Abdul-Qaadir said after the game. “When we see faces [of our teammates] looking down, it’s up to us to get them up.”
“All the girls look up to us,” Munn agreed. “When they see us not put our heads down, they feed off that.”
“We expect Anna to score,” Moren said, “and we’ve tried to put pieces around her to help her … [Abdul-Qaadir] is a playmaker; she can not only get her own, she creates for others.”
The ISU seniors were the only double-figure scorers in the game, Munn with 16 and Abdul-Qaadir with 11. Jasmine Grier was another noteworthy performer off the ISU bench with a team-high eight rebounds.
“It all started on defense,” Abdul-Qaadir said in explaining the second-half differences. “Then we just have to execute on offense … we feed off each other’s energy, like a chain; energy will get us a long way.”
“In the second half we really responded … put everything together,” Munn added.
Having contributors like Zurek, Grier and others on Saturday is also vital. “Depth is something we like,” Moren said. “We have other pieces we can put in [if we’re struggling].”
“Our depth will push us far into the tournament,” Munn predicted, “and prove everybody right [for picking ISU to win the Missouri Valley Conference].”
• One piece missing — Unavailable for Saturday’s game, and questionable for the next one, was Lashonda Littleton, a starting forward in ISU’s exhibition game a week earlier.
“She tweaked her knee at practice Thursday,” Moren said, “and her condition is unknown … she goes to the doctor on Monday.”
Sycamores defeat South Alabama behind Munn's 16 points
TERRE HAUTE —
Coach Teri Moren termed it “a tale of two halves.” Anna Munn chalked it up as “just one of those nights.”
Rose-Hulman, Woods to face off on softball diamond
The Rose-Hulman softball team will visit a familiar foe today when the Engineers take on crosstown rival Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in a nonleague doubleheader.
ISU baseball holds off Eastern Illinois for 24th win
Indiana State freshman left-hander Ryan Keaffaber won his first game as a Sycamore and senior catcher Mike Fitzgerald went 3 for 3 as ISU defeated host Eastern Illinois 6-4 in college baseball Tuesday.
Top returners lead Cream over Crimson in Hoosiers' spring game
The Cream team at Saturday’s Cream and Crimson intrasquad game had Indiana’s top returning rusher and receiver and the Hoosiers’ top-rated passer from last season.
No surprise, then, that Tevin Coleman, Shane Wynn and Tre Roberson guided the Cream to a resounding 24-14 win over the Crimson.
Rose-Hulman baseball gets wild doubleheader sweep
Host Rose-Hulman came back from an early six-run deficit in the first game Saturday and went on to a 13-12, 7-1 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball sweep over Mount St. Joseph.
The wild opener featured a Rose-Hulman comeback from an 8-2 deficit and included 18 hits and two school records for the Engineers.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball earns doubleheader sweep at Missouri State
Yvette Alvarez’s one-hit shutout capped a dominant day of pitching Saturday as Indiana State swept a Missouri Valley Conference softball doubleheader at Missouri State by scores of 6-1 and 4-0.
“We pitched well,” coach Shane Bouman said. “Both Taylor Lockwood in the first game and Yvette Alvarez in the second game threw great. When you pitch good and you play good defense and get some key hits, good things are going to happen.
ISU football set for first spring scrimmage
Thanks to a limited number of available offensive linemen — a group that will at least double in numbers in the fall with the addition of recruits and currently injured players — the Sycamores won’t have a full-scale scrimmage, but will still intersperse scrimmage plays (with officials) among other practice drills.
“We’re thin,” coach Mike Sanford admitted after practice Thursday. “The scrimmage will be part of practice — probably 30 or 40 plays altogether. We only have five to seven healthy offensive linemen, so we can’t go [in a scrimmage format] for long stretches of time.”
METRO ROUNDUP: Waltman's funeral Saturday at Indianapolis
Royce Waltman’s visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at St. Luke’s Methodist Church at 100 E. 86th Street, Indianapolis.
ISU baseball falls to Vanderbilt 6-2
The seventh-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores took control early to defeat the Indiana State Sycamores 6-2
ISU baseball sweeps doubleheader against Wichita State
Indiana State baseball coach Mitch Hannahs finally got what he’s been looking for from the Sycamores’ Friday and Saturday starters ... and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite Wichita State is in town for a crucial series. With ISU 2-4 in the league, it was vital for the Sycamores to validate their better-than-expected form in nonconference play with MVC success in Saturday’s doubleheader at Bob Warn Field.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman's nine-game winnings streak snapped
Rose-Hulman had its nine-game winning streak snapped with two tightly contested losses at defending Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference champion Manchester on Saturday.
Sycamores get commitment from junior-college point guard
Following Indiana State’s loss to Marquette in the WNIT, coach Teri Moren touched on the future of the program after the loss of Sycamore senior Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir.
Prusator gives ISU a shooter for 2015
Grant Prusator, a native of Rochelle, Ill., has made a verbal commitment to play basketball for Indiana State starting in the 2014-15 season. He will have three years of eligibility with the Sycamores as he played just one year for Highland Community College.
Metro sports: Locks of Love tournament today at Memorial Stadium
The Indiana State Women’s Soccer team will host its annual Locks of Love tournament today. The 4th annual event will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.
Indiana State secondary could be mending into a strength
During Indiana State’s injury-ravaged 2013 season, there wasn’t a unit on either side of the ball that was spared from the carnage.
But if one had to be singled out as hardest hit in the injury department, it would be difficult to out-do the Sycamores’ secondary.
Every player that started in ISU’s season opener at Indiana not only missed at least one game last season, but the entire starting unit was out of action by the end of September.
Reed named Midseason National Player of the Year
Half of the college baseball season is done and one prominent college baseball publication thinks Terre Haute’s A.J. Reed is best player in the land.
Reed, a junior at Kentucky, was named the Midseason National Player of the Year by Perfect Game USA, a website devoted to college baseball.
Laramie to transfer from ISU women's basketball program
Indiana State forward Marina Laramie averaged 9.9 points and started all 32 games as a sophomore for the Sycamores.
But the 6-foot-2 women’s basketball player will continue her career elsewhere.
Metro sports: ISU blanks Austin Peay in 6-plus innings
Indiana State’s baseball team posted another mid-week victory Wednesday night as four pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout and lead a 3-0 victory over Austin Peay State at Bob Warn Field.
Chicago guard commits to ISU women's basketball
The Indiana State women’s basketball team picked up a verbal commitment from Chicago guard Kiera Brooks on Tuesday.
The 5-foot-7 junior for North Lawndale College Prep visited ISU’s campus for the first time, met the team and chose her college home. Brooks averaged 18.7 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals for coach Corey Morgan’s 15-11 squad.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball tops IU 7-5
The Indiana State softball team remained a perfect 13-0 when scoring in the first inning as it defeated Indiana (9-24-1) 7-5 Tuesday for its second consecutive victory over a Big Ten opponent.
Dedicated to helping others
It’s not like Marissa Stout is bored out of her mind and lacking for things to do.
Metro sports: ISU’s Stone, Riemenschneider honored by MVC
Indiana State junior Megan Stone and freshman Brooke Riemenschneider each earned Missouri Valley Conference Athlete of the Week honors, according to an announcement from the league office Monday.
ISU baseball shows mental toughness in win over Illinois State
When the pressure’s on, there’s nothing a coach likes more than to see his team double down on their approach and grit out a positive result.
Going the distance: Redbirds ace Savas allows just five hits while shutting down Sycamores
Indiana State’s pitchers weren’t their best in Friday’s series opener against Illinois State, but it seemed the Sycamores might get away with it. Through seven innings, ISU had issued six walks, gave up six hits and hit a batter, but still trailed by just a run. But ISU’s luck with its generosity would give out in the eighth, and even if it hadn’t, Illinois State standout starter Dan Savas had the Sycamores’ bats in a deep freeze anyway. The Redbirds defeated the Sycamores 5-2 at Bob Warn Field.
Woods softball team wins 4th straight
The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods softball team swept Grace College with a pair of wins in its home opener Wednesday.
Devoted brothers: Mahurins relish chance to team up and win NAIA title
It wasn’t a great year for NCAA basketball in the Hoosier state outside of Indiana State’s 23-victory season.
But a team in NAIA Division II with eight Indiana natives — and coached by former Valparaiso point guard Greg Tonagel, an Indiana All-Star for his hometown of LaPorte — brought home a national basketball championship.
Tonagel, the scrappy point guard who played alongside Bryce Drew for that magical Valpo team, created more March hoops memories with the help of Rockville brothers R.J. and Lane Mahurin.
‘A full night’: Leadoff hitter Curry leads 16-hit attack as Sycamores pound Hoosiers
Lead-off man Landon Curry had four of Indiana State’s 16 hits Wednesday afternoon, and cleanup hitter Mike Fitzgerald reached for the 17th straight game to lead the Sycamores to a 12-8 victory.
Fresh start: ISU football team springs into action for coach Sanford’s second season
Many things change from year one to year two in someone’s coaching regime, but when it comes to football, few things change more dramatically in that span than spring football practice.
Etherington, Hollowell leaving IU
Two players are leaving Indiana University’s basketball program while a third is reportedly planning to leave early for the NBA. IU confirmed Monday afternoon that redshirt sophomore Austin Etherington and sophomore Jeremy Hollowell will transfer.
Metro sports: Rose's Stull, Schultheis earn HCAC honors
Rose-Hulman took two Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference honors this week, with Andrew Stull and Austin Schultheis recognized for their work over the weekend.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: ISU never kicked down the door in 2014
After Indiana State’s 91-71 loss Tuesday at Arkansas in the National Invitation Tournament, and in the days since, I can’t help but think of Bum Phillips and the 1980 Houston Oilers as I ponder Indiana State's 2013-14 men's basketball season.
Stay with me.
The Oilers had lost to the all-conquering Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1978 and 1979 AFC Championship games. Despite that, it seemed the Earl Campbell-led squad was the team of destiny to knock the Steel Curtain off their perch.
So much so that Phillips, the wonderfully colorful Oilers coach, said the Oilers would "kick the door down", knock off their black-and-gold nemesis, and win the AFC Central in 1980.
- More College Headlines
- Rose-Hulman, Woods to face off on softball diamond