TERRE HAUTE —
It’s regroup time for the Indiana State women’s basketball team after losing three of the past four.
Maybe the longest weekend road trip on the Missouri Valley schedule can induce the Sycamores to the high level of play they expect of themselves.
The Sycamores visit Missouri State — winners of four straight and five of six at home — tonight before heading to first-place Wichita State for a Sunday afternoon tilt.
Senior Anna Munn returned to the lineup Sunday after missing two games due to a knee injury, but she wasn’t able to shake off the rust quick enough to save the Sycamores against a determined Evansville team.
Munn was happy to start a week of full practice for the Sycamores, who were hard at work in solving the issues that have caused some recent struggles.
“It’s feeling good. It was nice to have those minutes to try and help the team out a little bit,” Munn said. “I think that’s one thing we have to get back to is focusing on our defense. That’s one of the things we did really well against Missouri State when they were here. We just have to do that on the road, that’s even more important there. Road wins are hard to come by. Coach [Moren] is harping on getting back to our roots at the defensive end.”
In addition to togetherness, the Sycamores are focused on learning quickly from mistakes.
“The quote of the day was mistakes are going to happen, and the key is for mistakes not to happen repeatedly. That means either you won’t learn or don’t care; this is not a group that doesn’t care,” Moren said.
Travecia Franklin could be a boost for the Sycamores’ defense this weekend. A starter early in the season, Franklin fell out of the rotation and is hoping to work her way back.
“I’m just trying to work my way in and stay focused on what the gameplan is. I think she’s just trying to figure out what group’s going to work best with one another,” Franklin said.
“I’m just looking for us to stay connected. Our downfall has been being disconnected defensively. We’re just focused on being consistent with staying connected.”
Franklin has tried to be a strong presence on a team with six newcomers to the lineup this season.
“That’s my job as a veteran. Since I’ve been here three years and they’re just now getting here, it is my job if they do need something to help us out. That’s what will make us better as a team,” Franklin said.
The Sycamores face a Missouri State squad that lost starting guard Kenzie Williams to a torn ACL three games ago. The Bears defeated Bradley without her but lost two road games last weekend.
ISU played well at both ends in defeating the Bears in Hulman Center on Jan. 25., shooting 45 percent from the field and winning 75-57.
“Moving forward, we just try to focus on the positive things that we did well against them here,” Franklin said.
It’s a good chance for the Sycamores to put recent troubles behind them and build some momentum. A win at tradition-rich Missouri State is always hard to come by, and avenging a loss to the Shockers would could be a huge boost.
“Long road trip for us. Tough place to play. It’s going to be their pink night, it’s always an event — at least our kids do — you get up for,” Moren said. “Sometimes when you lose a starter like that, the other players will step up and take advantage of their opportunities. And they have, they’re still a really good basketball team.”