TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State women’s basketball coach Teri Moren has been building a roster toward depth and athleticism in part because of a desire to bring pressure in the full court.
The Sycamores excelled as a halfcourt defensive team in 2012-13, ranking second in the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring defense at 55.5 per game behind Wichita State’s 55.4 ppg.
With more depth and athleticism this year, full-court pressure could become an important part of the Sycamores’ success this season.
ISU ranked last in the MVC in scoring offense, averaging just 59.2 points during 18 league games. Improving in that regard could start at the defensive end.
“We’re a big believer, philsophically, in our defense is going to jumpstart our offense,” Moren said. “You want to be aggressive on that [defensive] end and hope you get some early baskets. That’s the point behind being able to press like that and have your depth.”
Another benefit of the press is that the 10-second call has been added to the women’s game this season.
The Sycamores showed some of what they’ve implemented the past few weeks during last week’s exhibition win over Indianapolis. Moren’s fear is that the NCAA’s emphasis to officials on eradicating the heavy hand-checking defenses that have made some view the game as a “wrestling match” at times will hurt her vision to implement an aggressive, full-court defense.
If you’ve already put an opponent into the bonus, for example, bringing full-court pressure might also bring a risk of putting them at the foul line.
“With the change, how they’re calling it now, we’ve got to be careful with that. You just don’t want fouls 50 feet away from the hoop. If we can stay out of foul trouble, it’s something we’ll use more,” Moren said. “If it’s something we can’t do, then we won’t be able to use it as much. That’s how I want to play. I think it’s going to handcuff teams that like to press.”
Moren said NCAA leaders want the game to be more free-flowing, but that might be doing the opposite of that, she argued, citing the team’s scrimmage at Purdue that included 60 fouls between the two teams.
“I’d say the typical fan wants to see a flow. What happened to us at Purdue was there was a whistle constantly, there was a lot of stoppage in play,” Moren said. “There wasn’t a lot of film to watch a good up-and-down flow of basketball.”
ISU senior Anna Munn said the Sycamores have been constantly reminded of the emphasis in practice and just have to take that mindset into games.
“You can touch once and do it again, it’s a foul,” Munn said. “They really emphasized the hand-checking. We just have to adjust. We’ll be all right going into the season if we can adjust right now.”
Wichita State standout Alex Harden, the league’s preseason Player of the Year, said it could affect the style of play in conference.
“I think it’ll be good because it will allow more movement, more scoring,” Harden said. “[The Sycamores] are really structured in their positioning more, so it might not affect them as much as it affects us as a physicality type of team.”
If foul trouble becomes a problem, the Sycamores are confident in 11 players — 13 will be eligible by late December — being able to get the job done.
“We have a great bench. We know we can trust our bench to come in and keep it flowing,” point guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir said.
Munn added, “Coach is harping on going as hard as you can when we’re out there. We can go all out and keep fresh legs out there.”
• ISU vs. South Alabama — The Sycamores open their regular season today against a squad that lost five of its top six scorers from last season.
From what Moren saw in South Alabama’s double-overtime exhibition win, ISU will have a good opportunity to continue to tighten the screws on its defense against an aggressive team.
“They really tempt you, they like to put the ball on the floor. We’re going to have to be disciplined,” Moren said.
The Jaguars are led by first-year coach Terry Fowler and they’ll rely heavily on getting the ball to “physical” 6-0 post player Ronneka Robertson.
Guard Meghan Dunn, who averaged 6.9 points, scored 29 points in the Jaguars’ exhibition game.
“She can do a little bit of everything,” Moren said. “They’ve got some nice pieces.”
South Alabama at ISU
Tipoff — 5 p.m. today at Hulman Center.
Broadcasts — Radio: WPRS-AM 1440. Twitter: @TribStarCraig.
Series — ISU leads 2-0. The Sycamores won 76-72 in 1993.
(Stats from 2012-13 season)
South Alabama Jaguars (0-0) — G Meghan Dunn (5-7, Sr., 6.9 ppg, 31 steals), G Brittany Webb (6-2, So., 3.4 ppg), G/F Rachel Cumbo (5-8, So., 0.1 ppg), G Breanna Hall (5-9, Jr., 0.9 ppg) and F Ronnekka Robertson (6-0, Sr., 4.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg) are the starters. G Colby Davis (5-9, Fr.), G Sharon Sanders (5-8, So., 0.6 ppg), G Juliann Miller (5-8, Jr.,), F Taylor Jenkins (6-0, So.), G/F Grace Farnsworth (5-10, So.), F Jennifer Johnson (5-11, Sr., 4.3 ppg) and Donyeah Mayfield (5-10, Jr.) are possible reserves.
Coach — Terry Fowler is in his first season at South Alabama. He’s 206-177 in his 14th year overall.
Indiana State Sycamores (0-0) — G Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir (5-4, Sr., 10.6 ppg), G Anna Munn (5-10, Sr., 14.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg), G Travecia Franklin (5-9, Jr., 2.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg), F Lashonda Littleton (6-0, Jr., 7.6 ppg) and C Racheal Mahan (6-1, Jr., 13 ppg, 7.9 rpg). F/C Marina Laramie (6-2, So., 7.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg), G Natasha Zurek (5-9, Jr., 3.8 ppg), G Kasey Johnson (5-8, So., 3.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg), G Jasmine Grier (6-0, Jr.), F/C Rhagen Smith (6-2, Fr.) and G Kalliste Haskins (5-7, So.) could see action off the bench.
Coach — Teri Moren (49-45 in her fourth season at ISU).
— Craig Pearson