News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Indiana State University

December 20, 2013

ISU women looking for better effort

TERRE HAUTE — With losses in five of her team’s past six games, Indiana State coach Teri Moren is seeking more accountability from everyone on her roster.

The Sycamores play a Butler Bulldogs (5-5) team that’s won four of five heading into a 1 p.m. rivalry game today in Hulman Center.

The Sycamores (3-5) allowed East Tennessee State to shoot 49 percent from the field last game. ISU’s opponents are shooting a comfortable 44.2 percent, more than six percentage points higher than last year’s squad. ISU foes are scoring 11 points more per game than last season.

“Our effort was so poor, and that always falls back on the coach,” Moren said. “You’ve got to demand effort and excellence and we try to do that daily. But we weren’t getting the effort that we needed during the East Tennessee game. That’s one of the biggest reasons we fell short against East Tennessee.

“That’s on us as a staff to correct that. The last two days, even though it’s been short prep for Butler, it’s been good to watch film and change some things as far as what our expectations are,” Moren added. “It’s going to come to a point where we’re going to find five, six, seven, eight — hopefully it’ll be more than that — at an effort that it takes to win ball games. You might find people getting off the bench quickly depending on what our effort level’s like. That’s the agreement we have starting yesterday.”

The Sycamores’ work Thursday and Friday centered around solving issues on the defensive end that are resulting in too many uncontested shots.

Acclimating to adjustments in officiating made by the NCAA has been a process. The Sycamores just haven’t played with the same disruptive urgency at the defensive end.

“This is where you have to be disciplined. We know what they’re calling now, we just have to play with discipline,” ISU forward Racheal Mahan said. “We need a win, we want a win, we’re hungry for a win. We all believe and we trust in our teammates that we’re going to get this one [today].”

The ability of Mahan, Marina Laramie, Lashonda Littleton, Chelsea Small and Rhagen Smith to defend Butler’s post players will be one key to victory.

Butler center Liz Strattman, who has missed the last two games due to back spasms, averages 15.4 points. Cincinnati transfer Daress McClung, a 6-foot forward, averages 14.9 points, and point guard Taylor Schippers is an Oklahoma State transfer posting 12.2 points-per-game.

“[Butler] is a very good basketball team with a very good point guard. They’ve got a lot of really nice pieces,” Moren said. “Their leading scorers are their two post players. If we don’t come ready to defend in the low post [today] — the thing that separates their posts is they all have range — so they’re going to be taking our posts out of their comfort zone. Our closeouts, our sense of urgency to get out to the shooters is going to be critical to have some success.”

Moren has more options now with guard Stephanie Wittman and Small making their debuts in the loss at East Tennessee State. Wittman had eight points off the bench, hitting a pair of 3-pointers. But it’s all about defense, Wittman said.

“We’re trying to play defense and get back to being aggressive without fouling. The new rule, you’re hesitant sometimes,” she said.

Both Wittman and Small played in their first live game situation in well over a year.

“Being out a year, I’ve got to get that rust off a little bit,” Wittman said of her Sycamore debut. “I hit one, air-balled one, hit one. It was good, it felt good.”

Moren simply seeks players who want to play hard.

“Everybody has to do a little bit more,” Moren said. “We’re not focusing on every play and how important every play is. Things have changed around here in the last two days as far as what my expectations are going to be. So you may see a lot of different rotations tomorrow and a lot of different combinations based on us trying to find the five that want to play the hardest.”

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