News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

March 19, 2014

Second shot: ISU women seeking better shooting, defense against Marquette in WNIT opener

TERRE HAUTE — Defensive continuity, defensive rebounding and better outside shooting are among the keys for Indiana State in a first-round WNIT basketball game against Marquette tonight in Hulman Center.

Tipoff is slated for 7:05.

The Sycamores shot 31 percent in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament last week after finishing on an extended hot streak to close the regular season. Jasmine Grier and Anna Munn being able to knock down some shots from the outside tends to help energize the Sycamores.

Marina Laramie — capable of knocking down shots from the outside as well — hopes Munn’s return after sitting out the second half of the loss to Drake with an injury to her shooting arm is a boost.

“It got us down a little bit when we lost her in that game. It’ll be a huge part of our game to have her back,” Laramie said.

But Grier, who struggled badly in the MVC Tournament, and Munn’s offense could also help energize the Hulman Center crowd. The ISU players hope for a strong turnout as they seek the program’s third WNIT win in six appearances since 1999.

“We’ve always had a good crowd and I think the fans are going to be excited,” Laramie added. “That’s the best part about this. We all thought we were done at home, but it’s not. Anna and Qisy [Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir] get another chance to play in front of their home crowd.

“There’s nothing like being on your home floor. Hopefully, we can take advantage of that, get the crowd in our favor on our side, get some momentum and come out with a win.”

Marquette will have a slight size advantage on the Sycamores with a pair of 6-foot-3 forwards, but ISU starts 5-10 Munn and 6-0 Grier on the wing.

Marquette’s pair of 6-foot-3 post players are led by first-team Big East performer Katherine Plouffe, who averages 17.5 points and 9.8 rebounds. They help the Golden Eagles to the second best rebounding margin over opponents in the NCAA.

“[Plouffe’s] a tough guard for us, she’s a 3-4 combination kid about 6-2,” ISU coach Teri Moren said. “Can shoot it, put it on the floor, mobile. A lot of their offense is predicated around her. A lot of isolation looks for her.”

ISU’s Laramie and Racheal Mahan, coming off 16- and 17-rebound performances in her past two games, are used to being outsized.

But Moren needs her posts, which also includes Chelsea Small and Rhagen Smith off the bench, to perform at a high level tonight.

“We certainly need she [Mahan] and Red [Laramie] to show up like they did against Loyola,” Moren said. “They played I thought pretty inspired and energetic, especially going against a [Marquette] team with two or three true post players.”

Abdul-Qaadir, the starting point guard, said the Sycamores need to play with the audacious style that helped them win 20 games this season.

“That’s just going to come with being, I would say, more aggressive. Being able to pick up the speed a little bit. These girls are faster and stronger and I feel like we’re going to be fine. Their height advantage is going to be a little difficult, but I feel like we have the potential to play well against them,” Abdul-Qaadir said.

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    A trio of Indiana State basketball student-athletes have been named to the 2013-14 National Association of Basketball Coaches Honors Court as announced by the national organization. Honored from Indiana State were Lucas Eitel, Justin Gant and Jake Kitchell.

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