News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 4, 2013

ISU women open MVC play tonight

Craig Pearson
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A strong nonconference season is in the rearview mirror for the Indiana State women’s basketball team.

Now, the Sycamores can take what they’ve learned into the Missouri Valley portion of the schedule.

The coaching staff has learned plenty of positive things about this team, which has an 8-3 record heading into tonight’s game against Bradley. Coach Teri Moren has been impressed by the Sycamores’ toughness and will to win, which they’ll need against an up-tempo, high-scoring Bradley squad.

“What we found was that preseason we learned a little bit with the IUPUI loss and that helped us get some wins on the road, at Saint Louis, at Tennessee-Martin,” Moren said. “It doesn’t get any easier. That’s why we’re grateful to be in this league, with great coaches, players and a strong reputation. There aren’t any nights off. Our kids know that. It’s nice to be able to start at home.”

Bradley, which hasn’t won in Hulman Center since 1997, brings a 6-5 mark into Hulman Center, and the Braves were the highest scoring team in the league during the nonconference, averaging 75.2 per game.

That’s in stark contrast to Indiana State, which has carried its defense prowess to a 6-0 home record while allowing just 40.3 points per game in those contests.

Junior Anna Munn, the No. 2 scorer in the MVC at 15.7 ppg, said the Sycamores just have to continue to be who they are tonight.

“Stopping them in transition and getting stops in their sets. They really want to run a lot, so that’s a key and getting stops will help us have success on the offensive end,” Munn said.

Taylor Whitley will share in the task of slowing point guard Shronda Butts, a point guard averaging 19 points and 4.5 assists in the last six games.

“They’re definitely a transition team. Their point guard is involved in 40 percent of their scoring. She’s either scoring or setting up the shooters. She’s strong and just handles the ball really well,” Whitley said.

The Braves and Sycamores both send four-guard starting lineups to the court. While the Braves can score with aggressive play — they lead the MVC in free-throws made and attempted — they’re also last in the league in points allowed.

“They’re trying to outscore you. To me, it is controlled open gym. They're trying to get the ball up the floor as quick as they can,” Moren said.

The Sycamores’ MVC opening weekend continues Sunday against Northern Iowa. ISU hasn’t played since Dec. 22 at Butler.

“It’s been a long break. Next year, we’ll have a game in here [during the holiday break],” said Moren, who has praised the maturity of her young team this season. “Despite the Butler loss, we still had a really good preseason. We had a lot to be proud of as far as that. It was nice to give them an extra day off. Except for one day, they’ve been really good, their focus after having four days off has been good.

“I’m sure both teams are chomping at the bit to be ready to bit.”