By Craig Pearson
TERRE HAUTE — Coach Jim Wiedie expects the Indiana State women’s basketball team to have a bit of a retro feel this season, meaning the Sycamores have the potential to get back to creating havoc with their full-court press.
As Melanie Boeglin and Lisa Verhoff arrived as freshmen guards in 2002-03 to help the squad force an average of 24 turnovers per game, ISU student Brent Holl had become the regular color commentator for the Sycamores on WISU-FM 89.7.
Holl has been hooked since, and he’ll be making his return to a regular job with the program this season as ISU’s play-by-play man on WSDM-FM 92.7.
Holl, who spent nearly two years as station manager for ESPN Radio from 2006 to 2008, recently began working as an account manager for Gibson Teledata in Terre Haute.
“It’s a credit to what coach Wiedie has done to get this program on a commercial station. I think it’s huge, and I’m very excited about it,” said Hull, who will also host a coach’s show at the 7th and Elm Bar and Grill on Thursdays.
Holl’s excitement for the program grew during the team’s school-record winning 2005-06 season, and his knowledge of the program and the conference will be a plus for fans.
“I’m passionate about it. I know the players and coaches. I know what they’re trying to do. I know offensive tendencies, and what they’re trying to do on defense,” Holl said.
The Sycamores have seven freshmen on this year’s team, but Hull is optimistic the team can get back in the top half of the conference standings. ISU was sixth in the MVC last year with an 8-10 mark.
“You like to think they have a shot to finish near the top half of the league,” Holl said.
The program’s advancement to a commercial station has been in the works for the past year. Wiedie is excited about the exposure for the program.
“I’m really excited to be carried on a commercial station,” Wiedie said. “With the success we’ve had in the past, it’s time for that to happen. It will be nice to have a professional announcer. I know that our fans are extremely excited about that. The people at The Crock are great to work with, and I’m excited to be associated with their station.”
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• Preseason picks — With media day on Tuesday, we’ll have a full report on the MVC women’s basketball preseason picks, but I’ll prematurely share my votes.
With reigning MVC Jackie Stiles Player of the Year Kristin Cirone returning for her senior season, Illinois State is the clear favorite to repeat. The biggest change is last year’s No. 3-seed Evansville falling to a preseason pick of 8th due to the loss of several seniors and coach Tricia Cullop.
The Sycamores are easy to put in the middle of the pack with several key players returning, but it was tough to pick an ISU player on the preseason all-conference squad. Junior guard Kelsey Luna (11.0 ppg in 2007-08) has every opportunity to prove me wrong, but based on last year’s statistics (34.5 percent field-goal shooting, 31 assists to 52 turnovers) there were more deserving candidates such as last year’s hustling all-tournament pick from Drake Monique Jones.
1. Illinois State, 2. Drake, 3. Creighton, 4. Northern Iowa, 5. Indiana State, 6. Missouri State, 7. Southern Illinois, 8. Evansville, 9. Bradley, 10. Wichita State.
Preseason first- team
1. Kristi Cirone (Illinois State), 2. Maggie Dwyer (Missouri State), 3. Jacqui Kalin (Northern Iowa), 4. Nicolle Lewis (Illinois State), Monique Jones (Drake).
Craig Pearson can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (812) 231-4356.