TERRE HAUTE —
While tonight’s women’s college basketball game in Hulman Center between Indiana State and Northern Illinois promises to be a good one, it might not yet be the one that turns the Sycamores into a smooth, efficient offensive machine.
“Two really good defensive teams,” is how Sycamore coach Teri Moren described her team and tonight’s opponent, so the game has the potential to look a lot like most of the previous ISU games so far.
If it looks like any of the previous ones in Hulman Center, where the Sycamores are 3-0 so far, Moren probably wouldn’t mind.
“It’s good to be at home,” she said by telephone after her radio show Monday evening. “Hulman Center has been good to us, and the fans have been great.”
Those fans are learning to appreciate the Sycamore defense, which in three home games is allowing just over a point a minute — 122 points in 120 minutes, a 40.7-per-game average.
“That’s kind of been our staple,” Moren noted when asked about her team’s work on the defensive end. “The effort has been great … But we need to score more points.”
The visiting Huskies might not cooperate in that area.
“Kathi Bennett [daughter of former Wisconsin-Green Bay and Wisconsin coach Dick Bennett; defense was the staple of his teams too] and her staff do a tremendous job [coaching defense],” Moren said, “and [the Huskies] have some really interesting, talented pieces.”
Three of those pieces for the visitors are double-figure scorers: sophomore point guard Amanda Corral and forwards Satavia Taylor and Jada Buggs. Two of those are former Indiana high school players, Corral from Hobart and Buggs from Elkhart Memorial, and Buggs and Taylor are in their first seasons at Northern after transferring from Wisconsin and Loyola of Chicago respectively.
This might be a team Bennett’s staff has been pointing toward, in other words, and there are plenty of Huskies available. Twelve NIU players see action in most games.
Anna Munn’s 15.5-point average gives ISU the top scorer between the two teams, and Racheal Mahan is the game’s second-best scorer and top rebounder. The Sycamores aren’t likely to go 12 deep, but Moren has a solid eight-player rotation that’s working well.
The 4-2 Sycamores and the 3-3 Huskies haven’t had a common opponent so far, although one of Northern’s losses was a 67-58 decision against Missouri Valley Conference team Bradley. The visitors’ other losses were to Iowa and South Dakota State, while the NIU wins were over Davidson, Morehead State and Loyola.
“We’ll have to defend the dribble, because [the Huskies] are really good off the bounce,” Moren said. “And they’re outrebounding their opponents by six per game, so we’ll have to do a great job keeping them off the boards.”
And score, of course.
“One of our main problems there is that we haven’t been great at the foul line,” Moren pointed out. “We keep working on [free throws] in practice; eventually they’ll come around.”