TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State, the program’s best defensive team in points allowed a year ago, has held its first two opponents to a combined 32.3 percent from the field and an average of 46.5 points.
The opponents may have been Oakland and IPFW, but Indiana visits Hulman Center tonight having scored 85 points in its two victories.
IU freshman Larryn Brooks has scored 19 and 25 points in the Hoosiers’ wins, so slowing down the speedy point guard who was a Kentucky All-Star will be among the reasons that the Sycamores’ defense will face its toughest test of the young season.
“She’s playing great. She has a lot of freedom. She can put it on the floor, getting to the free-throw line a lot and has range,” ISU coach Teri Moren said. “We’re going to have to do a really good job to stop her from having a good night.”
ISU guards Travecia Franklin and Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir will be among those keeping an eye on Brooks, who will likely spend some time defending Abdul-Qaadir — fresh off a career-high 24-point performance.
Abdul-Qaadir said the Sycamores are hoping to put a more complete performance together than they have in their first two wins.
“You rarely get to play a Big Ten school, especially them coming to us so I’m very excited for it,” Abdul-Qaadir said. “This is going to give us a chance to put our name on the map. We’re just going to have to contain their guards, their freshman is really good, she’s really fast.”
The Sycamores will have to get off to a better start than they have in those first two games. ISU scored just 11 points in the first half against South Alabama on Saturday then needed a late first-half surge to take a lead into halftime at Eastern Illinois on Tuesday.
“We definitely carried over [momentum after halftime],” Abdul-Qaadir said. “The last five minutes of the first half we picked up our energy a lot. Coach is going to harp on us about coming out strong in the first half and not having to dig out of a hole. That’s what we’re going to work on coming into the IU game. Our defensive pressure was good in the second half. That’s where we’re good, using our quickness and getting in the passing lanes. We build off of each other’s energy, and that’s going to be one of our strengths this season.”
ISU sophomore Marina Laramie and junior Racheal Mahan will need to be effective tonight against the Hoosiers as IU has had strong play in the post from 6-foot-4 Sasha Chaplin, 6-1 Tabitha Girardot and bulky forward Milika Taufa.
“A big part of their game is their post players,” Laramie said. “They’ve definitely got a size advantage. We’ve got to be able to handle that and defend the lobs that they’re going to throw. A lot of talking on defense.”
The Sycamores lost last season 60-48.
“Hopefully we can follow the gameplan and do our work early so that won’t happen this year,” Mahan said. “They’ve got a lot of post players so it’ll be a rotation. We’ve just got to play our roles.”
Second-year coach Curt Miller has the IU program moving in the right direction with some highly-sought recruits signed for next year. Moren likes the talent he has on this year’s team as well.
“He relies on the high-low, and they’ve been very efficient in that. He’s playing some freshman and they’re young, but they all play within the system. Real impressed with his young kids,” Moren said.
ISU senior Anna Munn is approaching 1,000 points for her career 972. And with two 3-pointers tonight, Munn would surpass Leah Phillips for sixth place on the Sycamores’ all-time list. Munn has 169 during her career.
IU at ISU
Tipoff — 7 p.m. today at Hulman Center.
Broadcasts — Radio: WIBQ-FM (98.5). Twitter: @TribStaCraig.
Last time out — ISU won Tuesday at Eastern Illinois, 65-53. IU won
Series — IU leads 24-7.
Indiana (2-0) — G Larryn Brooks (5-5, Fr., 22 ppg), G Kaila Hulls 5-11, So., 7 ppg, 4.5 rpg), G Taylor Agler (5-9, Fr., 8 ppg, 2.5 spg), F Tabitha Gerardot (6-1, Sr., 12 ppg, 4 rpg) and C Sasha Chaplin (6-4, Sr., 13.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg) are the starters. F Milika Taufa (6-0, Sr., 7.5 ppg, 7 rpg), C Simone Deloach (6-3, Sr., 3 ppg, 4 rpg), Alexis Gassion (5-10, Fr., 5 ppg, 4 rpg) are some key reserves.
Coach — Curt Miller (13-19 in 2nd season at IU, 271-111 in his 12th season overall)
Indiana State (2-0) — G Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir (5-4, Sr., 17.5 ppg, 2.5 steals per game), G Anna Munn (5-10, Sr., 16 ppg, 4 rpg, 2.5 spg), G Travecia Franklin (5-9, Jr., 1 ppg, 2.5 rpg), F Marina Laramie (6-2, So., 6.5 ppg, 7 rpg) and C Racheal Mahan (6-1, Jr., 7 ppg, 6.5 rpg) are the starters. G Jasmine Grier (6-0, Jr., 2.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg), G Natasha Zurek (5-9, So., 3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.5 spg), F/C Rhagen Smith (6-2, Fr., 3.5 ppg, 2 rpg), F Lashonda Littleton (6-1, Jr.) and G Kasey Johnson (5-9, So., 2 ppg, 3 rpg) are key reserves.
Coach — Teri Moren (51-45 in 4th season at ISU, 181-118 in 10th season overall).
Injuries — For ISU, Littleton (knee) is questionable.
Next — ISU plays Monday at Stetson.