TERRE HAUTE —
Entering her third season as head coach at Indiana State, Teri Moren will be trying to leave two middling seasons as far as win-loss record is concerned in the past.
The Sycamores concluded their sixth day of practice for the 2012-13 season on Wednesday, and Moren — 31-32 in her ISU career thus far — is excited about the possibilities that abound with a young, energetic team and a brand new coaching staff.
“It kind of feels like starting over with some of the young kids,” Moren said before referencing several players that return. “The nice thing with Taylor [Whitley], Anna [Munn], [Jessica] Valley and Andrea [Rademacher] and [sophomores] Racheal [Mahan], Travecia [Franklin] and [Natasha] Zurek we have some experience. I wouldn’t call them all veterans.”
Rademacher, a junior who begins practice in the best shape of her career, said she has the same feeling of starting over.
“We all have high expectations this year. It’s a whole new group, new set of coaches, new girls,” Rademacher said. “We’re all still expecting great things. I know a lot of people are doubting us due to our age and how young the team is. But I think we’re all so driven right now and focused on accomplishing big things that we haven’t done in a while.”
Like many coaches, she sees potential.
”We’ve got a long ways to go. But I think we’re at a good starting point,” Moren said.
So the big question is can the Sycamores get over the hump and have a winning season for the first time since a 17-14 mark in 2009-10? (ISU’s last winning Missouri Valley Conference season was 2008-09 when ISU was 14-16 overall).
If the Sycamores can answer a few of the following questions, they could definitely get where they want to be.
<center>Is point guard Taylor Whitley back to full health?</center>
Whitley played just 23.6 minutes per game and missed 11 games during the Sycamores’ 15-16 campaign last year.
The senior point guard has had multiple knee surgeries, but she’s been looking strong in practice so far, giving her and Moren reasons to believe she could be poised for a career year.
“It’s just one of those unfortunate things. You can’t look back,” Moren said. “[Whitley] was very smart over the summer. She watched herself and tried not to do too much. We’ve watched her in preseason,” Moren continued. “She looks great, she feels great. She’s not pain-free everyday, but she’s as close to 100 percent as she’s been in a long time.”
Last season, Whitley was never the dynamic player that she was in 2010-11 when she made the MVC All-Tournament team thanks to an outstanding three-day run. The Chicago-area native was a big-time playmaker in 2010-11, averaging 4.7 assists. That number was down to 2.8 last year.
“I don’t think I was ever close to 100 percent health, but my knee’s feeling great now. It occasionally gets sore, but it’s 100 times better than last season which is really good news,” Whitley said.
With added athleticism around her, Whitley could be the throttle the Sycamores need to be a surprise in the league this year.
“This is the hardest working team I’ve ever been on, we’re super positive and encouraging of eachother,” Whitley said. “If we stay working this hard and positive all year long, good things will come out of it.”
<center>Who replaces Shannon Thomas in the paint?</center>
The 6-foot-4 Thomas graduated as the Sycamores’ all-time leader in rebounds and blocked shots, and sophomore Racheal Mahan, who averaged 13 minutes as a freshman, is the most experienced option to pick up minutes.
Mahan, whose production peaked during MVC action when she posted 5.1 points and 3.8 rebounds in 15.8 minutes of action, says she’s ready to be a go-to option in the post.
“Sixty percent of our points are gone from last season so we’re going to have to see who’s going to score that 60 percent,” Mahan said. “I’ve worked very hard in the offseason, and I’m going to have to step up big-time.”
The 6-foot-1 but forceful Mahan said she’s worked on all aspects of her game.
“There’s a lot I can do to improve,” she said. “I have to be better at free throws, rebounding and ball-handling.”
The 6-foot-3 Rademacher, who played 7.7 minutes a game last season, is hoping to earn a bigger role this year. The 21-year-old enters her fourth year in the program is hoping to prove to the coaching staff she can contribute.
“I’ve lost quite a bit of weight after last season which I needed to be able to guard faster players,” Rademacher said. “Because in our league I lot of guards in our league play that 4 spot, play in post. I needed to become faster, be a better defender. I feel I’ve improved on that this summer, by gaining speed and losing weight.”
Moren also has freshmen Marina Laramie, a 6-foot-2 post out of O’Fallon, Mo., and Makenzi Reasor, a 6-2 Hoosier out of Mount Vernon, trying to break into the rotation.
“I just think it’s too early to tell. When you look at the fact that, out of our four post players, two of them our freshmen, you would just assume that Rademacher and Rachel would be ready to step in,” Moren said. “Those are some big shoes to fill, replacing Shannon, not only offensively but everything she did for us on the defensive end as well.”
<center>Will Ann Munn have a breakout season?</center>
Yes, Munn has been a solid player for the Sycamores the past two seasons, averaging 10 points last season, good for fourth on the team.
But the junior has the all-around skills to be a first-team performer in the Missouri Valley.
The problem is Munn had offseason shoulder surgery that kept her off the basketball floor the entire off-season. She was cleared by doctors for her first full practice Friday, but she looked ready to go.
Friday “was first day in six months she’s really been in the thick of things,” Moren said. “She’s in fantastic shape. Expectations are always going to be high on a kid like that, that can shoot the ball like she can. She’s the most experienced player from last year’s team, coming back just based on the fact that Taylor was injured.”
Munn shot 38.1 percent from the 3-point arc last year, second only to Deja Mattox. But Mattox and Brittany Schoen, who led the team in 3-pointers made, are gone, meaning Munn should have plenty more looks at the goal.
Munn, also ISU’s leader in assists and second-best rebounder last year, is ready to pick up her production in another big area.
“I think I just need to be more of a vocal leader,” Munn said. “I think last year I let some of the seniors take that role, and I think this year it’s time to just step up and be that vocal leader and exemplify what’s supposed to be going on on and off the court.”
“It’s been a pretty good start. Coach is really just trying to get our fundamentals down and put in a couple plays. Just have to get some more conditioning in. I think we’re going to hit the ground running the next couple weeks coming up.
<center>What do the freshman add to the team?</center>
When Moren talks about the Sycamores being more athletic this season, sophomores Jessica Valley and Travecia Franklin certainly come to mind.
ISU assistants have been impressed by Franklin so far, and Valley returned to the court ahead of schedule after reconstructive knee surgery in February.
Watch the Sycamores practice and freshman Kasey Johnson of Plainfield comes to the forefront of the discussion.
While she’s only 5-8, Johnson is strong, fast and a good leaper.
“Kasey Johnson has really stood out as a freshman,” Moren said. “Valley’s finally back, and she’s about a month ahead of schedule as far as her release. We’re way more athletic than we’ve been in the past on the perimeter, not as deep as we’d like to be on the inside. But we still feel like we have some pieces that we can play different ways.”
Johnson and Valley provide needed versatility.
“It’s neat to have two kids like that, that are so athletic. That’s a luxury you have. Valley can play the 1 through the 4 [positions]. That’s what she did last year, maybe not so much the 4. Then you have a kid like Kasey that can play the 4. She can jump. I’m comfortable playing her at a 4 spot. She would be a headache for a 4 in our league trying to guard her. It’s nice to have an option like that.”
The 6-2 freshmen, 5-7 guard Kalliste Haskins and Johnson make up the freshman class for ISU. Right now, Moren sees Johnson as a definite contributor.
“The nice thing about a kid like Kasey is she has an unbelievable basketball IQ. You can put her in those spots and she can retain and know where she’s supposed to be. I’m excited about her in particular,” Moren said.
Sycamores looking for first winning season of Moren era
TERRE HAUTE —
Entering her third season as head coach at Indiana State, Teri Moren will be trying to leave two middling seasons as far as win-loss record is concerned in the past.
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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