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January 11, 2013

Sycamore women looking for more scoring from supporting cast

TERRE HAUTE — The formula for Indiana State women’s basketball success includes a defense ranking 12th nationally in points allowed and an offense led by Sycamore junior Anna Munn.

Munn has posted 17.4 points in ISU’s nine victories, while being held to 11.0 ppg in the Sycamores’ four losses.

With the Northern Iowa defense focused on limiting Munn’s looks on Sunday, Munn scored just 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting, resulting in ISU’s first home loss of the season.

Coach Teri Moren is looking for Munn’s teammates to invalidate a scouting report similar to what the Panthers used to hold ISU to 33.3 percent shooting.

“The coaches in our league are very good. Everybody’s going to have the same scouting report,” Moren said Wednesday after ISU concluded practice in Hulman Center.

The truth is the Sycamores don’t have a wealth of highly accurate outside shooting options. Take away Munn’s 37 3-pointers — which ranks her 27th in the NCAA at 2.8 made per game — and ISU has only 17 3-pointers in 13 games.

Moren doesn’t expect Travecia Franklin, Natasha Zurek to begin to fire up 3s all of a sudden, but both can knock down mid-range shots. Jessica Valley had a career-high nine points on Sunday, providing some needed scoring to go with her jack-of-all trades production.

Freshman starter Kasey Johnson is playing big minutes but shooting just 25.7 percent from the field. First-year player Marina Laramie could be a solid secondary post option to Racheal Mahan, but Laramie is 2-of-8 from the field in her last three games.

“Their [Northern Iowa] kids that were [defending] Zurek, Taylor [Whitley], Kasey and [Travecia Franklin] by sagging down on Racheal ... two things have to happen,” Moren said. “One, our kids have to have the confidence to get in scoring areas and knock down those shots, but the other part of that is making sure you’re spending time practicing those shots outside of practice to make sure you have that confidence.”

The Sycamores will look to stay at .500 or above in the league on an always tough road trip that begins with a game at Drake tonight and concludes with a visit to a Creighton team that is among the top 30 in the nation, according to schedule-weighted computer rankings.

Mahan thinks her team’s resilient mentality will show.

“We’ve always come back. We know what’s at stake now. We’ve got to get going early in the first half, we can’t just kick it in in the second half and expect to keep winning games,” Mahan said.

Mahan did nothing to disprove the notion that she’s quickly become one of the Valley’s top post players, averaging 14.5 points and 9 rebounds last weekend.

She said the Sycamores can all be more aggressive and play with more urgency on the offensive end.

“Sometimes we catch ourselves standing still. We have to penetrate a little bit more, try to get to the basket a little bit more and it will open up shooters,” she said.

It will be a big test for the Sycamores on the road. Drake (5-8, 0-2 MVC) will be looking to avoid an 0-3 start, while Creighton is simply the most talented team in the league.

“This is a team that has a new coach, but Kendall Clark is a terrific guard in our league,” Moren said. “They’ve got a lot of nice pieces. It takes time to get acclimated. This is a very talented Drake team that we’re going to face.  Our preparation has been really good. [The Bulldogs’] transition offense is really good.”

The Bluejays (10-3) are led by standout guard Carli Tritz, who has battled a knee injury but still leads the team in assists and steals. Freshman Marissa Janning came off the bench to average 18 points in Creighton’s 2-0 start last weekend.

“Creighton is an unbelievably talented team that has had some really good wins. They’ve beat Nebraska, South Dakota State, beat South Florida, some teams that are teetering right there on Top 25 status,” Moren said.

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