TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State squandered a big opportunity on Sunday to move into a third-place tie in the Missouri Valley Conference, but coach Teri Moren’s squad has four games remaining to maintain its spot among the league leaders.
That begins with a two-game homestand in which the Sycamores have a chance to sweep the season series with Missouri State for the first time since 2008 and the chance to knock off league leader Wichita State.
“This was another opportunity to get ourselves to the upper echelon of the Valley. We’ve done that. We’ve established that, and now we have to get back to work,” Moren said after Sunday’s loss to Illinois State.
Missouri State (14-13, 6-9 MVC) comes to town on a two-game winning streak, and the seventh-place Bears are trying desperately to avoid the play-in round at St. Charles.
ISU senior Taylor Whitley will be trying to make sure her team maintains momentum heading into the postseason.
“It’s a huge weekend. We need to bounce back. It’s our last two home games, that should be our motivation,” said Whitley, who will be recognized Sunday on Senior Day alongside redshirt junior Andrea Rademacher. The 6-2 forward will graduate in May, plus Indiana State has five newcomers set to be eligible during the 2013-14 season.
ISU allowed 63 points on Sunday, the most they’ve allowed in Hulman Center all season. The Sycamores want to get back to the defense that has carried them.
“We weren’t playing our rules a lot of the time Sunday. Practice this week was really focused on getting back to those rules and our defensive identity. We’re going to find ways to score,” Whitley said.
ISU has won four of five and has a team that looks capable of putting together a postseason run in St. Charles, Mo. Moren’s goal is to keep that chip on the shoulder that helped the team get to this point.
“We haven’t arrived quite yet. We still have to have that hunter’s mentality. No one’s hunting us. We have to have that mentality that we have to go steal games from other people,” Moren said. “This week is not going to be any different. We have two really good teams coming in here. We have got to get two at home because the Northern Iowa-Bradley road trip is going to be a tremendous challenge for our team.”
The Sycamores struggled with foul trouble against the Redbirds, particularly as sophomore Racheal Mahan and freshman Marina Laramie had some struggles.
“You have to correct your own mistakes. A lot of those fouls are when our positioning’s not correct, “ Moren said.
ISU junior Anna Munn, the Sycamores’ leading scorer at 15.2 points-per-game, tied her career-high with 27 points in the Sycamores’ win at Missouri State on Feb. 1.
Munn struggled with three points in the second half against Illinois State, but ISU lacked a post game offensively for the first time in several contests.
Laramie and Mahan have emerged as one of the league’s best scoring duos.
“I think it comes down to our guards finding the posts,” Munn said. “Our posts kind of struggled a little bit [Sunday]. Everybody has bad games, but I think when they adjust on me, you just have to figure out how to get the posts open shots.”