TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State’s women’s basketball team suffered its first defeat of the season at Indiana Friday.
Tonight, the Sycamores play at a state school — IUPUI — that they’ve never lost to.
ISU is 8-0 all-time against the Jaguars, and the Sycamores will try to build on their early-season promise as they play at The Jungle, IUPUI’s on-campus home.
In the eight previous games in the series, IUPUI has come close to beating ISU only once — a 53-47 ISU win in 1998. Every other game in the series was decided by at least 13 points, including ISU’s 65-40 victory last season at Hulman Center.
Improved defense has been ISU’s calling card so far this season. The Sycamores are averaging 7.1 steals and 16.1 forced turnovers per game. The Sycamores have conceded 49.3 points per game, ISU gave up 63.4 points per game last season.
So far, ISU has also done a much-better job on the boards. On average, the Sycamores were outrebounded by a slight margin in 2012. So far, ISU is averaging five more rebounds that its opponents. Racheal Mahan’s 11 rebounds per game is a big reason for that.
Mahan has also averaged 10.3 points per game. She has effectively replaced, and so far, exceeded former center Shannon Thomas’ production in the lane.
ISU still needs to improve its shooting. The Sycamores have converted 36.8 percent for the season, three percentage points lower than their 2012 total.
Though Travecia Franklin (63.6 percent), Marina Laramie (58.3 percent) and Mahan (50 percent) have been effective in the paint, Taylor Whitley (39.1 percent) is the only Sycamore who doesn’t play in the post who’s near the 40 percent mark in shooting.
IUPUI guard DiArra Goss is the Jaguars’ most potent threat at 20 points per game.
ISU will play one more in-state road game as it travels to Butler on Dec. 22.
Efforts to reach ISU coach Teri Moren for this story were unsuccessful.
ISU at IUPUI
Tipoff — 7 p.m. today at The Jungle, Indianapolis.
Broadcasts — Radio: WXXR-FM (95.9).
Last time out — ISU lost at Indiana 60-48 last Friday. IUPUI lost 75-69 to Valparaiso last Saturday.
Series — ISU leads 8-0.
Indiana State Sycamores (2-1) — G Taylor Whitley (5-9, Sr., 9.3 ppg, 5 apg), G Anna Munn (5-10, Jr., 16 ppg), G Kasey Johnson (5-8, Fr., 4.3), G Jessica Valley (5-9, So., 4 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and F-C Racheal Mahan (6-1, So., 10.3, 11 rpg) are possible starters. F Travecia Franklin (5-9, So., 6.3), C Marina Laramie (6-2, Fr., 6 ppg) and G Natasha Zurek (5-9, So., 1 ppg) are key reserves.
Coach — Teri Moren (33-33 at ISU, 3rd year, 163-106, 10th year overall).
IUPUI Jaguars (2-1) — G DeAirra Goss (5-10, Jr., 20 ppg), F Kerah Nelson (9.7, 6 rpg), G Dee-Dee Bellamy (5-3, Jr., 9 ppg), C Clara Mitchell (6-1, Sr., 2 ppg, 3.3 rpg) and G Dawn Luster (5-9, Jr., 4.3) are the possible starters. F Nevena Markovic (6-4, So., 7.3, 5.3 rpg), G Katie Comello (5-5, Jr., 7 ppg), C Shawnece Teague (6-3, Fr., 6.3), F Akilah Sims (5-10, Fr., 5.3) and G-F Jordan Barton (5-10, So., 4.3) are key reserves.
Coach — Austin Parkinson (19-44, 3rd season at IUPUI).
Next games — ISU plays host to Belmont on Sunday. IUPUI plays at Indiana on Friday.
— Todd Golden