TERRE HAUTE —
The Indiana State women’s basketball players bought into a culture of defense long before practice even started last fall.
With over half of the team’s 2011-2012 scoring deducted by the graduation of Brittany Schoen, Shannon Thomas and Deja Mattox, the Sycamores could either embrace a defensive identity or suffer through a painful season.
Coach Teri Moren added assistant coach Joey Wells to the staff to help instill a defensive philosophy.
And as good as he might be at teaching it, the players deserve credit for becoming a cohesive unit and continuing to progress as the season moved ahead. The Sycamores rank 18th in the NCAA in points allowed after consecutive wins over Creighton and Drake — a homestand last year’s team was swept on during a six-game losing streak.
“In the beginning of the season, we weren’t sure where our scoring was going to come from. [Coach Wells] was just saying if we can keep our opponent from scoring, our scoring would take care of itself,” ISU sophomore Travecia Franklin said. “We’ve worked so hard this season in trying to gut it out on the court. It makes me proud of my teammates.”
A big part of the success defensively is rebounding, where the Sycamores are leading the Missouri Valley Conference with a margin of (+4.9). That’s an area that’s been an Achilles’ heel for many finesse Sycamore teams in the past; even those that won conference titles in 2006 and 2003 were among the worst in the conference on the glass.
The Sycamores are anything but finesse now.
Senior Taylor Whitley sets the tone with rugged hustle plays, but the Sycamores have toughness all over the floor. Racheal Mahan is second in the Valley in double-doubles, and her new postmate Marina Laramie is willing to mix it up.
Junior Anna Munn, the team’s leading scorer, is praised by her teammates for being a vocal leader at the defensive end as well.
“We’re all invested as a team. We have eachother’s back. We know that if somebody gets beat backdoor then we’re going to have help on the opposite side,” said Munn, who ranks third on the team with a 4.6 rebounding average. “We just go in there with whole heart. Even the guards, we know it’s an entire team effort.”
Laramie is averaging 8.8 rebounds since being inserted into the starting lineup in place of injured Jessica Valley. The fiery redhead was slow to contribute during the nonconference after being behind in conditioning, but she’s rising to the occasion.
“Jess was averaging seven rebounds so coach [John] Marcum challenged me: any rebound under 7 [in a game], I have to run miles for. Anything over, he has to run. I’m going to get him in training,” Laramie said after Tuesday’s practice.
Franklin is also a newcomer to the starting lineup. The 5-9 sophomore from Columbus, Ohio, has become an important piece in ISU’s quest to keep making winning plays.
Franklin had seven points, three assists and two steals against Creighton, and chipped in three steals while drawing a charge against Drake.
“Rebounding, get as many deflections as I can, basically just try to heat it up on defense,” said Franklin, who joked about the willingness to sacrifice her body. “I don’t know how much I can stay in that area. I’m a bone away from having half an arm.”
Moren loves the discipline and commitment her team plays with on the defensive end.
“We talk a lot about helping our teammates. We’re all connected. That’s elevating and being in the passing lane to deflect passes or help off penetration,” Moren said.
“I just think it’s the mentality these kids have. Our identity from the beginning has been a defensive team. That starts with getting a missed shot, but they understand the possession always ends with a check-out. It’s something they’ve naturally done. It’s always about heart and effort.”
• Looking for revenge in Evansville — Indiana State (14-8, 6-5) will look to catch Evansville in the MVC standings tonight on the road.
ISU lost 55-54 to the Purple Aces (8-13, 6-4 MVC) last month in Hulman Center on a shot in the final seconds by Khristian Hart, who is out for the season with a torn ACL.
The Purple Aces’ guard had games of 26 and 28 points during January, but coach Oties Epps can still rely on the tough post trio of Mallroy Ladd, Taylor Ware and Chelsea Falkenstein.
Evansville held Mahan to a sub-par outing with 4-of-14 field-goal shooting.
“We’re looking to go in there and get them back,” Mahan said. “They’ve got two really good posts so if we play defense like we do, we should be looking to get a win.”
The Sycamore are 2-3 on the road in MVC play so far, allowing 60.8 points-per-game away from Hulman Center.
“60 points is not terribly bad, I still think I’d rather be in the 50s,” Moren said. “I think the intensity you start out a game should be the same whether you’re home or away. We’ve got a system in place and that should get the results whether we’re in Hulman Center or not.”
TERRE HAUTE —
The Indiana State women’s basketball players bought into a culture of defense long before practice even started last fall.
DeNato proves IU can pitch too
Joey DeNato dispelled the notion that College World Series newcomer Indiana is all about offense.
The junior left-hander threw a four-hitter and the Hoosiers looked mighty comfortable at TD Ameritrade Park while beating Louisville 2-0 on Saturday night.
Etherington, Moore happy to be with ISU basketball
Not even two weeks into their college experience, Indiana State freshmen men’s basketball players Alex Etherington and Demetrius Moore stood sentinel as 115 kids ran around them collecting basketballs and getting autographs at the Greg Lansing Basketball Camp on Thursday.
ISU's Johnson invited to World University Games
Indiana State senior Felisha Johnson will be traveling the world this summer after being named to represent the United States in the women’s shot put at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Close, but no cigar, theme for ISU sports in 2012-13
When I covered my first event of Indiana State’s 2012-13 season — ISU’s opening football game at Indiana — I was the first one in the press box at IU’s Memorial Stadium. I’m never the first one in the press box.
Maybe the prospect of ISU’s season had me so pumped that I decided to get it started close to three hours early? (Or more truthfully, maybe I was over-vigilent about predicted traffic horrors on the Indiana 46 bypass that never came to pass.)
Q&A: ISU football coach Mike Sanford ready for fall
It’s hard to believe, but Mike Sanford has already been Indiana State’s football coach for six months.
Time flies, but Sanford’s task of preparing for his first season in charge of the Sycamores comes with few breaks.
Rex streak ends at 7
The Terre Haute Rex table setters — Kyle Kempf and Tyler Wampler — had three of the team’s eight hits Friday at Bob Warn Field, but the Rex offense found itself in a big early deficit for the first time this season.
Manaea’s selection puts ISU in spotlight
Once the stress and hang-wringing over where Indiana State pitcher Sean Manaea might get drafted was over, the angst subsided and was replaced with a happier emotion. Pride.
ISU’s Hope places 13th in NCAA pole vault
Indiana State senior Nicole Hope concluded her final competition of the 2013 outdoor season on Friday as she tied for 13th in the women’s pole vault at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Metro roundup: Former Sycamores take talents to CFL
Former Indiana State players Johnny Towalid and Justin Hilton were signed by teams in the Canadian Football League this week.
Exit Minnesota, enter Oregon State on 2016 football schedule
When the Big Ten Conference implemented a nine-game football schedule starting in 2016 and discouraged members from playing Football Championship Subdivision teams, there was one game on Indiana State’s future schedule that was likely on borrowed time.
ISU’s scheduled game at Minnesota in 2016.
METRO ROUNDUP: Swift reaches finals of NCAA Championships in 110-meter hurdles
Indiana State junior Greggmar Swift will be among the top eight in the NCAA in the 110-meter hurdles after qualifying for Saturday’s finals on Thursday.
Swift ran a time of 13.51 seconds to take third in his heat. He’ll run in either lane 1 or lane 8 on Saturday.
“I got out pretty good and then I hurdled three or four when I got bumped and it threw me off my rhythm,” said Swift, a native of Barbados. “I tried to get back my rhythm … but I held on for the third place.”
ISU's Manaea selected 34th overall by Royals
Indiana State pitcher Sean Manaea selected 34th overall by the Kansas City Royals.
Sycamores ready for more NCAA track success
Five of the six Indiana State athletes in Eugene, Ore., already have had some memorable track and field careers for the Sycamores.
But they’ll go ahead and try to add to their list of accomplishments in the NCAA outdoor championships this weekend.
Dustin Betz has been a scorer and key piece of eight Missouri Valley Conference championship teams between track and cross country. He’ll compete today in the 3,000-meter steeplechase as the Sycamores’ second best in the event behind Jordan Fife.
Mike Lucas joins ISU football staff
What traits do head football coaches seek out when they hire position coaches?
Indiana State football coach Mike Sanford provided insight into that question as he hired former Southeast Louisiana head coach Mike Lucas to his staff Tuesday. Lucas will be the Sycamores’ defensive line coach.
“You have to look at your staff and see what you need. I felt like in this particular case, I wanted an experienced defensive line coach. I feel like we have a mixture of experience and youth and I want to keep that going,” Sanford said.
TODD GOLDEN: MVC Tourney can be ISU success story if work is done
Prior to last week’s Missouri Valley Conference baseball tournament at Illinois State’s Duffy Bass Field, fear and loathing prevailed in some corners of the conference.
It seemed that Missouri State, Creighton, and most notably, Wichita State, had a monopoly on the season-ending tournament since the Coolidge Administration. (It had actually been since 1998.) How could the tournament make it without playing in one of the three aforementioned universities’ big venues?
- COLLEGE REPORT: Wabash College All-American relay team has TH flavor
Six Sycamores heading to NCAA Track and Field championships
Three Indiana State seniors and a freshman punched their tickets Friday to the NCAA outdoor track and field championships in two weeks at Eugene, Ore. Two more got the job done Saturday on the campus of UNC Greensoboro in the East Preliminary.
Sycamores bow out of MVC Tournament
Indiana State’s baseball was out of pitching, and after a loss to Wichita State on Thursday, the Sycamores were out of second-chances too at the Missouri Valley Conference baseball tournament. What the Sycamores weren’t out of was heart, guts and clutch performances from some unlikely sources. But in the end, Friday’s elimination game rematch against the Shockers was a sampling of ISU’s season overall — the Sycamores were out of luck.
Metro Sports: Chalk up No. 5 for Liz Evans
Senior Liz Evans capped the top career in Rose-Hulman athletics history with her fifth national championship and eighth All-American award at Wisconsin-La Crosse on Friday.
Four Indiana State athletes advance to NCAA outdoor track and field championships
Three Indiana State seniors and a freshman have punched their tickets to the NCAA outdoor track and field championships in two weeks at Eugene, Ore., with their Friday efforts in the 2013 NCAA East Preliminary at Aggie Stadium on the campus of North Carolina A&T.
Wichita State shuts out ISU to force elimination-game rematch
Indiana State starting pitcher Greg Kuhlman did his best.
Actually, he did far better than he ever has previously in an ISU uniform, but while Kuhlman’s gutty pitching effort spoke volumes, ISU’s bats remained ominously silent.
Indiana State baseball now one win from MVC Championship
Indiana State’s Wednesday morning wish list probably read something like this: a dominant complete game effort from starting pitcher Devin Moore, near-immaculate defense to support him, and a steady diet of clutch situational hitting from lineup spots one to nine.
Terre Haute's Mascari running 10,000 meters for chance to get to Hayward Field
Indiana State freshman and Terre Haute North graduate John Mascari is among the enormous group of Sycamores competing this weekend at the NCAA East Preliminary. The top 48 NCAA track and field competitors in each event on this half of the United States are narrowed down to 12 who will compete at the NCAA meet at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Manaea's shoulder causing him latest pain
Indiana State pitcher Sean Manaea has battled through so many aches and pains during the 2013 season that it can be hard to discern the serious pain from the pain he pitches through.
ISU's Negele answers call in big way in wake of Manaea injury
When Indiana State starting pitcher Sean Manaea slumped on the mound in obvious pain after he took his warm-up pitches, red flags raised for ISU’s Missouri Valley Conference tournament hopes.
ISU baseball hoping Manaea can get its MVC Tournament moving in right direction
Indiana State’s baseball team has been waiting all season for its stars to align.
But this is the 2013 Sycamores, after all, and after a season in which seemingly little has gone right, it appears its stars will remain crossed at the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
ISU track sending record 22 to postseason
On the heels of their thrilling double victory at the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships both the Indiana State men and women moved up in the national rankings which were released Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
ISU's athletic treasure trove
Think of every championship that Indiana State has won in each of its sports, past and present. Think of every tournament — postseason or regular season — which the Sycamores have claimed as their own.
Ort sets ISU RBI record in 16-7 win
Robby Ort celebrated his Indiana State baseball Senior Day on Saturday by becoming the Sycamores’ all-time leader in RBIs as ISU ended its regular season with a 16-7 win over Bradley at Bob Warn Field.
Bradley ends 16-game MVC losing streak against ISU
Momentum was the only thing riding on Indiana State’s baseball game against Bradley on Friday. With a five-game winning streak going, ISU wanted to keep the good vibes going into next week’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
ISU couldn’t do it.
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