Coming off a 68-58 home triumph over Evansville last Saturday, the Indiana State women's basketball team will try to keep the good times rolling in a pair of road games this weekend.
The Sycamores (3-18 overall, 1-8 Missouri Valley Conference) will face Loyola (13-7, 4-5) at 8 p.m. EST Thursday inside Gentile Arena in Chicago. Then they'll visit Valparaiso (11-9, 3-6) for a 2 p.m. matchup Saturday inside the Valparaiso Athletics-Recreation Center.
ISU already played each of those teams in Hulman Center, losing to Loyola 58-51 on Jan. 12 and losing to Valpo 75-56 on Jan. 10. CeCe Mayo, a 5-foot-11 junior guard/forward, led the Sycamores both times, scoring 15 points against Loyola and 13 against Valpo.
Indiana State coach Vicki Hall thinks her team is playing better than it was last month. Whether that translates into victories remains to be seen, although she believes the rest it received from playing one game instead of its usual two last weekend probably will help.
"It gave us a chance to rest up some injuries and to work on some other things," Hall said Wednesday. "We're looking forward to this weekend. ... I'm excited to see what we can build on [from last weekend]."
Loyola's leading scorers are 6-0 junior guard/forward Abby O'Connor, tallying 13.4 points per game, and 6-1 sophomore forward Allison Day, averaging 11.7 ppg. O'Connor also grabs a team-high 8.0 rebounds per outing.
"They've got a good starting five," Hall said of the Ramblers. "Abby O'Connor can score in a myriad of ways ... very versatile. They run the ball very well and they just play very physical. They're tough and they're tough to play at home."
For the Sycamores, 6-1 junior forward Jamya McChristine is tops in scoring (9.8) and rebounds (6.3) among active players. McChristine also happens to be a native of Chicago, where she grew up as a fan of the WNBA's Chicago Sky. After graduating from ISU with a bachelor's degree in criminology, she'd like to work as a police officer in the Windy City.
Meanwhile, Valparaiso is paced offensively by 6-0 senior guard/forward Grace Hales (12.4 ppg) and 6-0 junior guard/forward Addison Stoller (11.2 ppg). Stoller also leads the Crusaders in rebounding at 5.3 per contest.
Stoller and Hales fired in 16 and 14 points respectively against Indiana State on Jan. 10.