News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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January 27, 2014

Wichita State puts on shooting display to take sole possession of first at ISU

Sycamores drop first MVC game to Shockers

TERRE HAUTE — Wichita State had Indiana State on its heels from the tip-off, turning a battle for first place into a dominant display of who belongs at the top of the Missouri Valley Conference's women's basketball standings at this point in the season.

ISU fell to 6-1 in the league while defending league champion Wichita State won its 13th straight game overall and took over sole possession of first place at 7-0.

Leading the league at a blistering 49 percent from the field through six Valley games, the Shockers took the Sycamores’ defense to task, shooting 59.2 percent on their way to a 83-63 win in Hulman Center.

The Sycamores were stunned from the beginning. The Shockers hit two 3-pointers and Alex Harden converted a layup to take control with an 8-0 lead two minutes into the game. Ali Decker came off the bench to hit her first of four 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes to put the Shockers ahead 13-2 just four minutes into the game.

“Give Wichita a lot of credit, I thought they came in and made a statement in the first five minutes of the game on how this game was going to be played the whole 40 minutes,” Indiana State coach Teri Moren said.

Alex Harden, the preseason MVC Player of the Year, combined with Jamillah Bonner to post 19 points and five assists in the first half. The Shockers shot 50 percent in the first half and 6-of-9 from 3-point range as Indiana State could never manage to build momentum. Chelsea Small connected for her second 3-pointer to cut the Shockers’ lead to 21-11 with 10:50 to go, but — just 15 seconds later — Decker connected again from long range.

“It starts with Alex Harden and Jamilllah Bonner,” Wichita State coach Jody Adams said of her team’s offensive execution. “When they’re slashing to the rim, when we’re pulling in the defense and we’re pitching out and finding out 3-point shooters. These kids put up 100s of shots and I’m not talking about misses. They work for what you see.”

While Indiana State struggled to defend the Shockers’ high-powered attack, the Shockers’ defense made the Sycamores uncomfortable enough to prevent ISU from making a run to get back in the game.

Harden held the Sycamores’ leading scorer, Anna Munn, without a field-goal attempt until the 1:56 mark of the first half. Munn converted the 10-foot jump shot and hit another pull-up shot to cut the Shockers’ lead to 36-22. But again, ISU couldn’t manage a stop as Decker hit a two-point jump shot, allowing Wichita State to take a 38-22 halftime lead.

ISU couldn’t force Wichita State to miss in the second half.

The Shockers went 12-of-12 from the field over the first 13 minutes of the second half to take a 71-46 lead.

ISU ran off five straight points to pull within 20, but Decker — who finished with 17 points — connected for her fifth 3-pointer in five tries to keep the Shockers perfect in 13 tries from the field in the second half.

“We ran into a buzzsaw there in the second hall,” Moren said. “It was difficult for us to get anything good going that gave us any type of confidence throughout the 40 minutes, and that’s frustrating.”

Jamillah Bonner, who helped set the tone for the Shockers in a stout defensive effort, missed a jumper with 4:55 to go for the Shockers’ first missed field goal in almost 17 minutes.

Bonner finished with a game-high 23 points and five assists, and her ability to be in the mix fighting for loose balls and causing havoc defensively helped set the tone for the game.

“She’s just a pit bull … .and we love pit bulls,” Adams said. “She’s just going to bite in and she’s not going to let go. That’s why she came to Wichita State. She loves the way we play and especially how we play defense. The combo between her and Harden, they’re a wearing factor.”

The Sycamores hope to leave the loss behind while also picking up a few things that will help them going forward.

“That’s a really tough basketball team. We can learn something from the way that they approach the game, how hard they play and how disruptive they were. Hopefully that’s the lesson we learned tonight,” Moren said.

Munn, held to eight points, said the Sycamores will be resilient.

“We let fatigue and whatever else get in the way. We have a shot at them two more times. We have a lot of room to grow on both ends of the court,” Munn said.

Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, held to 3-of-10 from the field for 10 points, said the Sycamores will learn from the defeat.

“Every play, they played aggressive. We have to learn from that as a team. Now we know exactly what to expect,” Abdul-Qaadir said. “We’re not worried. We’re going to worry about our other games. We’ll know what to expect and we have to throw the first punch.”

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SPT 030714 ODUM 02O'LEARY.jpg

Put your back into it: Indiana State's Jake Odum guards Loyola's Matt O'Leary in the second half of action during the the Sycamores' 75-62 win on Friday in the MVC Tournament in St. Louis.

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SPT 030714 ODUM 02O'LEARY.jpg

Put your back into it: Indiana State's Jake Odum guards Loyola's Matt O'Leary in the second half of action during the the Sycamores' 75-62 win on Friday in the MVC Tournament in St. Louis.

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