News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Given to Fly

December 22, 2006

Given to Fly: ISU women end non-conference play on strong note

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Indiana State’s experience at the Vanderbilt Holiday Tournament ended up being a positive one despite playing to the level of its opponent in the opener against Longwood.

The Sycamores fought Vanderbilt tooth-and-nail until the final buzzer. Coach Jim Wiedie’s squad’s 89-75 loss also concluded the toughest non-conference schedule under his tenure in a satisfactory manner. A five-point loss against an Iowa team that is not as strong as originally thought could have turned in ISU’s favor had it not been the team’s first game. That Hawkeyes’ team is reeling after a 24-point loss to the Missouri Valley Conference’s Northern Iowa.

ISU struggled at Michigan State and against Wisconsin-Green Bay, who is now No. 14 in the rankings with the fourth-toughest schedule in the country. The Phoenix deserve some national recognition in the polls.

Vanderbilt’s post players were more athletic, skilled and experienced than those of Iowa or Michigan State.

The Commodores’ point guard is no Ivory Latta — the favorite for Player of the Year for Duke — but Dee Davis is the best point in the Southeastern Conference. The Commodores’ senior had six points, 10 assists and seven rebounds against ISU on Thursday.

Davis said she was impressed by ISU’s offensive prowess.

“They could definitely shoot,” Davis said. “They had a lot of talent on the floor. Everybody was an offensive threat and they hurt us in spurts. We take a lot of pride in our defense. I thought we picked it up in the second half.”

Angela Phillips has fallen into a 4 for 29 shooting slump beyond the 3-point line during the past four games, but she is a smart player that will bust out of the slump and continue providing leadership.

The ISU backcourt will continue to thrive behind both Phillips, Annie Bankhead and Kelsey Luna, but Thursday reiterated the fact that this team’s co-captains are the key to championship-level success. Rachel Maenpaa and Laura Rudolphi have to provide steady play at both ends.

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