News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 15, 2014

ISU’s Family Arena struggles continue

WNIT next for Sycamores

Craig Pearson
The Tribune-Star

ST. CHARLES, MO. — Indiana State’s women’s basketball postseason struggles continued Saturday in The Family Arena, site of the seventh neutral-site version of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.

In the past 12 years, Indiana State has been one of the top three seeds in the tournament five different times. For the fifth time, ISU was knocked off by a lower seed in the tournament, falling to fifth-seeded Drake by a score of 66-58.

For Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir and Anna Munn, it was one last attempt to reach the NCAA Tournament.

Abdul-Qaadir was a bit bewildered by how it happened, but the Bulldogs definitely stole the momentum. The MVC Player of the Year had two points at halftime and air-balled two 3-point attempts.

“Drake definitely took the momentum from us in the last I’d say two minutes of the first half,” Abdul-Qaadir said. “We did a really good job on Kyndal Clark in the first half. They took the momentum.”

Munn had to watch from the bench with an ice pack on her elbow as ISU’s second-half rally fell short. She’ll hope to get healthy to get back on the court.

When it clinched the No. 1 seed in the MVC Tournament, ISU earned an automatic berth to the WNIT. It’s the Sycamores second-straight berth to that tournament and fifth since 2002-03.

The WNIT was not among the list of goals for this team, picked to win the conference for the first time since Melanie Boeglin led ISU on a memorable run to the 2005-06 regular-season title.

What’s most disappointing for this Sycamore team is not getting the chance to play a rubber game with MVC co-champion Wichita State today.

“We expected more out of this tournament. That being said, the season’s not over for us. Hopefully, we’ll have a great postseason. We’re going to take advantage of it,” Laramie said.

ISU is one of three MVC teams without a trip to the NCAA Tournament, joining Bradley and Loyola. The Sycamores’ overall record in the MVC Tournament dropped to 12-23.

The WNIT bracket will be announced Monday night between 11 p.m. and midnight. First-round games will be March 19-21 (Wednesday through Friday).

ISU administrators confirmed that ISU bid to be a host site, but they weren’t sure if a monster truck event scheduled for Saturday in Hulman Center would be a factor.