News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Given to Fly

February 14, 2010

'Til It's Over: ‘Stepping stone’ game points Sycamores in right direction

Whether the win comes against a top-25 team or a conference pushover, ending a four-game losing streak is always a relief.

The Indiana State women’s basketball team’s victory Sunday was somewhere in between but closer to the latter as Wichita State is just above the Sycamores in the standings.

But, as assistant coach Clint Weddle said after the game, the victory was “a stepping stone.”

The way the Sycamores dominated the action, however, showed that Weddle may be right about another thing: The Sycamores may not be a team anyone wants to play as the March 11 start date for the Missouri Valley Conference tournament approaches.

With six games left, the Sycamores (12-11, 3-9 MVC) won’t be able to reach the upper half of the conference, but sixth-place Drake, currently 6-7 in league, is a team that could be caught.

To do so, winning both road games at ninth-place Southern Illinois and 10th-place Evansville this week is a must.

With the team chemistry the Sycamores presented Sunday, the outlook looks — to use a word common around this team over the weekend — positive.

Neither Kelsie Cooley nor Kelsey Luna would offer any goal associated with the uphill climb ISU faces to stay out of the play-in round of the conference tournament. (The bottom four teams in the league are faced with the daunting task of needing to win four games in four days to take the title.)

“We can’t control the standings,” Cooley said. “What can we control? We control how hard we work and our intensity and our support for our teammates. You handle those things and things will start falling in line for you.”

This team has clearly rallied around each other since learning of coach Jim Wiedie’s suspension for the remainder of the season and that his contract will not be renewed.

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