TERRE HAUTE —
Nonconference road wins are never easy. During the Teri Moren era at Indiana State, the Sycamores have experienced the feeling just twice.
Road wins at Chicago State and Northern Illinois in 2011 are the only times the women’s basketball team has a had a happy trip back to Terre Haute. The Sycamores get another shot tonight at they travel to Saint Louis.
The Sycamores have had two bites of the road apple so far this season and found them both bitter to the taste. A competitive 60-48 loss at Indiana on Nov. 16 was followed by a nightmarish 71-67 defeat at IUPUI on Nov. 20. The Sycamores had 29 turnovers against the Jaguars and lost despite the fact that IUPUI had 30 giveaways of its own.
Winning on the road is important to Moren. ISU is just 2-8 in nonconference road games under her watch.
“It’s our A-number one goal. We thought we’d get it at IUPUI, but we didn’t,” Moren said. “We’ve discussed with the team the things that can happen that need to happen to win. And we’ve discussed what cannot happen. One thing we can’t do is to play to lose.”
ISU had 19 turnovers in the loss at Indiana, so taking care of the ball is an obvious point of emphasis for Moren to impart to the players.
“We have to value possessions and take care of the basketball. It’s difficult enough on the road, we can’t make it more difficult on ourselves. If you approach it as one possession at a time, and value each of those possessions, you should be fine,” Moren said.
What Moren and the Sycamores can hang their hats on is their defensive play. In last Sunday’s 48-34 victory over Belmont at Hulman Center, the Sycamores held Belmont to just 26.5 percent shooting and also forced 16 turnovers. ISU’s defensive mentality this season has pleased Moren.
“We’re defending very well and we’re playing hard. The only time we didn’t defend was IUPUI and one half of the game against Marshall. Other than that, we’ve been happy,” Moren said.
SLU (2-3) is hoping to win its third game in a row for the first time since the 2010 season. The Billikens defeated Nebraska-Omaha and Western Illinois in its previous two games.
Coached by Lisa Stone — who took Drake to the Sweet 16 in 2001 — the Billikens have outrebounded their opponents by an average margin of 8.8 rebounds per game. Forward Lorreal Jones (11.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg) and center Mallory Eggert (8.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg) contribute the most on the glass.
ISU will be without the services of Mackenzi Reasor. It was revealed Tuesday that Reasor has a stress fracture in her femur. According to Moren, she’ll miss six-to-eight weeks.
• Small transfers to ISU — ISU announced Tuesday that 6-foot-1 forward Chelsea Small will transfer to ISU from American University and will be eligible to play at the start of the spring semester during the 2013-14 season.
“Chelsea was someone that we were involved with last offseason after her time at Hutchinson Community College and are thrilled to welcome her to Indiana State,” Moren said in a press release. “She’s an athletic four-player with great touch that can stretch the defense with her shot but can also rebound the ball.”
A Denver native, Small played two seasons at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College from 2010-12. As a freshman, Small averaged 9.4 points and 5.5 rebounds in 2010-11. She averaged 11.1 points and 7.1 rebounds as a sophomore in 2011-12.
Last season, HCC earned the No. 2 national ranking and finished the season at 36-1 with the team’s lone loss coming in the NJCAA National Championship game to top-ranked Trinity Valley. Small was selected to the NJCAA All-Tournament team following the season.
An athletic post-presence, Small knocked down 61 three-pointers in 68 career games at HCC, while also averaging two blocks and one steal per game.
Small came off the bench in American’s 70-50 exhibition win over Virginia Union, scoring two points and with two rebounds in 11 minutes.