TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State's M-and-M combination continued to carry the Sycamores' women's basketball team Thursday night in Hulman Center.
The duo of Anna Munn and Racheal Mahan combined for 30 points, helping ISU improve to 11-5 overall and 3-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 72-57 victory against Southern Illinois.
Munn shook off a sprained knee suffered six days ago at Drake to score 14 points, and Mahan registered her sixth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Taylor Whitley added 13 points for the Sycamores.
Mahan was a season best 8-of-8 at the free-throw line, hitting a pair with 10:38 left to give ISU its largest lead of the evening, 58-34.
Mahan also led ISU with six of the team's 23 offensive rebounds, a number that gives the Sycamores their most since gathering 24 on March 5, 2005. The Sycamores scored 11 points off 16 first-half offensive boards to take a 39-25 lead aat halftime.
"This is a great team win," ISU coach Teri Moren said. "That's heart and hustle when you're getting 23 offensive rebounds. That's always a goal [to get 20 offensive rebounds]. We don't hit that goal very often. Racheal was terrific around the basket; everyone contributed."
The Sycamores built up to full throttle slowly as the Salukis were on a mission to be the aggressor early.
Indiana State's slow start was due, at least in part, to shots not falling from the outside early on as the Sycamores failed to get the ball inside.
Mahan didn't get a shot attempt until the 11-minute mark after the Sycamores went 3-of-12 from the field and 1-of-5 from the 3-point arc through eight minutes.
The Salukis led 13-10 at that point because they were aggressive in attacking the rim. Guard Cartaesha Macklin hit her first four shots from the field during that stretch, and SIU center Dyana Pierre was also effective early.
Mahan said that ISU is hard to get rattled, especially at home.
"Even though we're down, we know this is our homeport. if our defense isn't working, we're going to try something different. If we need to score more points, we're going to score more points," Mahan said.
Moren said ISU adjusted to SIU's ability to get into the interior of the Sycamores' defense.
"The adjustments we made were more defensive," Moren said. "We started off in our man-to-man. I thought we were struggling a little bit in that. Then you saw us go to our zone then you saw us give up some shots in that and we made the decision to go back to our man-to-man."
As Moren said, ISU shored up its defense, holding Macklin to 1-of-4 from the field for the rest of the first half. The improved play on the defensive end helped ignite the Sycamores offensively.
After her steal, Taylor Whitley pushed the ball up court to Travecia Franklin, who drove aggressively to the hoop, then Munn drilled her third 3-pointer of the half to cap a 10-0 run by the Sycamores.
The Sycamores' stingy defense was just picking up momentum.
After SIU scored with 6:26 to go before halftime, ISU held the Salukis to one field goal. Mahan had six of ISU's final 10 points before halftime, and ISU outscored the Salukis 13-3 over the last 6:26 before halftime.
"I'm really happy with how we handled ourselves in that first 20 minutes," Moren said. "We just did a tremendous job on the offensive glass. As we tell our kids, sometimes your second and third shots are your best offense. That turned out to be the case tonight, especially in the first half."
In the second half, Whitley knocked down two pull-up jumpers, and Marina Laramie gave the Sycamores her sixth points of the game with a 10-foot jumper.
Laramie finished with eight points, giving her 19 in her last two games and double figures in back-to-back games for the first time all season.
"This was a game where we could use our two bigs where Racheal and [Laramie] could play together. Sometimes we go into games and don't think that's a good combination," Moren said. "Although she's 1-for-7, she has a nice touch. She needs to finish better around the block. She always came up and got herself to the free-throw line."
Franklin also chipped in six points off the bench as ISU scored 17 off the bench.
Indiana State will play host to in-state rival Evansville on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. The Purple Aces won Thursday night at Illinois State by a score of 71-57.
While Munn said her knee felt good, Moren said it was nice to get the starters some rest heading into Saturday's game.
"That's huge. When was the last time Racheal and Taylor and Munn didn't play over 30 minutes? It's been a while," Moren said. "That's an impressive win that Evansville got at Illinois State; that's a tough place to play. They're playing with a tremendous amount of confidence, so it's nice that we could rest our starters. On the flip side of that, it's nice to reward the Rademachers and Kalliste."
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (57) — Bouie 4-8 1-2 12, Washington 1-4 3-6 5, Pierre 4-6 0-0 8, Macklin 6-16 5-7 17, Napier 0-7 0-0 0, Haynes 0-0 0-0 0, Griffin 0-0 0-2 0, Courier 3-3 0-0 9, Patterson 3-6 0-0 6. Totals 21-50 FG, 9-17 FT, 57 TP.
INDIANA STATE (72) — Mahan 4-8 8-8 16, Valley 2-5 0-0 4, Johnson 2-10 0-0 4, Whitley 6-7 1-2 13, Munn 4-12 2-2 14, Zurek 1-4 2-4 4, Laramie 1-7 6-8 8, Haskins 0-1 0-0 0, Rademacher 1-1 1-2 3, Franklin 3-7 0-0 6. Totals 24-62 FG, 20-26 FT, 72 TP.
Halftime score — ISU 39, SIU 25. 3-point shooting — SIU 6-11 (Boueie 3-3, Courier 3-3, Napier 0-5), ISU 4-14 (Munn 4-11, Haskins 0-1, Johnson 0-2). Rebounds — ISU 4 (Mahan 10, Johnson 7, Valley 5, Munn 4, Laramie 4), SIU 29 (Washington 8, Pierre 8). Assists — SIU 13 (Macklin 5), ISU 14 (Whitley 4, Munn 4). Turnovers — SIU 19, ISU 13. Blocks — SIU 6 (Courier 3, Pierre 2, Macklin), ISU 2 (Laramie, Franklin). Steals — SIU 7 (Napier 2), ISU 9 (Whitley 5, Laramie 2, Johnson, Munn). Total fouls — SIU 19, ISU 17.
Next — ISU (11-5, 3-2 MVC) plays host to Evansville on Saturday. Southern Illinois (4-11, 1-3 MVC) visits Illinois State on Saturday.