TERRE HAUTE —
Taylor Whitley averaged 12.1 points, 4.7 assists and went on an offensive rampage two years ago in St. Charles, Mo., to earn All-Missouri Valley Conference Tournament accolades.
A knee injury caused her a major setback as a junior, but Whitley’s senior year seems to have gone just how she would like it to: with her in the background doing the dirty work for a team that ranks among the NCAA’s best in scoring defense. The Sycamores are allowing 53.7 points-per-game, which is the best in the program’s history by a wide margin.
It’s a team that plays harder consistently for 40 minutes than any I’ve watched in 10 years covering ISU women’s basketball.
It takes the entire team and a positive, communicative coaching staff to make that happen, but Whitley’s determination sets the tone day after day.
“I think tonight was a great way that she showed her leadership. She came out and was taking it hard to the basket every time,” ISU freshman Marina Laramie said following Friday night’s victory against Missouri State. “I just think that’s something special about her, she goes hard, 110 percent, all the time.”
Whitley is guiding a team that lost three 1,000 point scorers from a year ago, and the Sycamores are a couple more wins from the best conference finish since taking third place in 2006-07. With a win today, the Sycamores could knock Wichita State from first place, while also potentially securing no worse than fifth place in the standings.
“I definitely didn’t know what to expect coming into the season. We lost three big scorers, big players from last year in Brittany, Shannon and Deja,” Whitley said. “This team has worked really hard. I’m just really proud of how we’ve handled ourselves this year. We’ve played hard in every game, and our defense is what’s kept us in games.”
Whitley is among the MVC’s leaders in steals, while scoring 11.4 points, dishing 3.1 assists and hitting 81.5 percent at the free-throw line.
“Part of our success has been her maturity level and her ability to always be positive and lead this young team,” coach Teri Moren said. “Even on days when we’re in walkthroughs and supposed to be at 50 percent, the kid’s going 100 percent.”
Visiting coaches praise the Sycamores’ toughness when they visit Hulman Center in 2013, and Whitley’s play leads by example for ISU.
“I always just try to give my best, give 100 percent at all times. I love playing defense, and I think when you’re diving on the floor and playing aggressive, the team feeds off of that,” Whitley said. “That’s a big reason our team is aggressive, isn’t afraid to get on the floor and do the dirty work.’
The Sycamores have grown at the offensive end as well, hoping to continue to build confidence heading into a conference tournament with a chance to get the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth.
“We’ve been working hard on our motion and things like that. We have the tools to be successful on offense with our players in the post and Anna as our 3-point shooter, and Vecie [Franklin] and I as the drivers,” Whitley said.
• The perfect student-athlete — ISU’s Andrea Rademacher has a 4.0 grade-point average and has a job lined up with Campus Outreach, an organization in which she’ll have the opportunity to work with college students in becoming followers of Christianity.
Rademacher’s minutes have declined the past two seasons, but she’s maintained a positive attitude and been a good leader for the Sycamores. She will be recognized today as part of Senior Day festivities.
“Andrea is one of the finest human beings you’ll ever meet and get to coach,” Moren said. “She is a leader and that is simply by how she carries herself on and off the floor. She’s a true example of what a student-athlete should look like. She’s an example for our younger kids ... She’s going to be missed.”
Rademacher said she has enjoyed being a part of the program.
“College basketball isn’t easy. It’s definitely rewarding. There’s a lot of joy involved. It’s been a blessing to be a part of this program. I’m thankful for the support I’ve received personally from this community and just the team. It’s not like this [with around 2,000 fans in the Arena] when we go on the road. There’s hardly anyone in the gyms.
“I want to see girls in this program grow off the court and grow in their character. I want to impact them for the rest of their lives, knowing that basketball’s so temporary.”
• Laramie’s breakout game — Laramie was in the zone Friday night, and she’s averaging 11.9 points since moving into the starting lineup.
The O’Fallon, Mo., native was playing against a team with a former AAU teammate on it and against a coach that didn’t offer her a scholarship.
Moren expects more performances similar to Friday night the remainder of the season and the next three years.
“She’s talented, you know,” Moren said. “She’s far from being the player that we think she has potential of becoming. We’re hard on her every day. Our expectations are high. This is a kid that wants to be great, and she’s communicated that with us. And now it’s our job to hold her to that and remind her of that and continue to help her to get better. We need her. We also need Racheal. [Mahan] gets off to a slow start in the first half. If those two can show up on the same night, we’re a pretty good basketball team.”
• Rebounding for a victory — ISU’s victory Friday gave the Sycamores a rare season sweep of Missouri State, which has a young squad as well.
The Bears also have one of the best rebounding teams in the league.
MSU has three of the top four offensive rebounders in the league and getting some second-chance buckets helped the Bears take a six-point halftime lead Friday night.
ISU allowed only two second-chance points in the second half and won the rebounding battle by a 40-36 margin. Guard Natasha Zurek had seven boards — to go with her three assists and three steals — and had a couple big ones during big stops on the defensive end.
Moren praised the effort on the glass afterward.
“It’s huge. That’s one of the reasons we won at their place because we were able to outrebound them. Part of the challenge is we had to clean that up,” Moren said. “That always comes down to heart and hustle.”
Craig Pearson can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TribStarCraig.
Wichita State at Indiana State
Tipoff — 1:35 p.m., today in Hulman Center.
Broadcasts — TV: Fox Sports Midwest. Radio: WIBQ-FM (98.5).
Last time out — ISU defeated Missouri State on Friday 71-63. Wichita State lost on a last-second shot Thursday at Illinois State, 57-56.
Series — ISU leads 34-28.
Indiana State Sycamores (17-9, 9-6 MVC) — G Taylor Whitley (5-9, Sr., 10.5 ppg, 3.2 apg), G Anna Munn (5-10, Jr., 14.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg), G Travecia Franklin (5-9, So., 3 ppg), F Racheal Mahan (6-1, So., 13.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg) and C Marina Laramie (6-2, Fr., 8.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg) are the starters. G Kasey Johnson (5-8, So., 4 ppg, 2.7 rpg), G Natasha Zurek (5-9, So., 3 ppg), G Kalliste Haskins (5-7, Fr.), F Makenzi Reasor (6-2, Fr.) and F Andrea Rademacher (6-2, Jr.) could see action.
Coach — Teri Moren (178-114 in 10th season overall, 48-41 in third season at ISU).
Wichita State Shockers (19-9, 13-3 MVC) — G Jessica Diamond (5-7, Sr., 12 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.9 apg), G Jasmine Jones (6-7, Sr., 3.1 ppg, 1.3 spg), G Alex Harden (5-11, So., 10.5 ppg, 5 rpg, 3.7 apg), F Chynna Turner (6-0, Sr., 6.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg) and C Jazmien Gordon (6-2, Sr., 6.8 ppg, 4 rpg) are possible starters. C Kelsey Jacobs (6-2, So., 5.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg), G Alie Decker (6-0, Fr., 6.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg), and G Darice Fountaine (6-11, Sr., 6.2 ppg) are key reserves.
Coach —Jody Adams (111-78 in sixth season overall, 87-70 in fifth season at WSU).
Injuries — For ISU, G Jessica Valley (knee) is out for the season
Next — ISU will visit Northern Iowa on Thursday. Wichta State will conclude its regular-season on Saturday at Missouri State.
— Craig Pearson
TERRE HAUTE —
Taylor Whitley averaged 12.1 points, 4.7 assists and went on an offensive rampage two years ago in St. Charles, Mo., to earn All-Missouri Valley Conference Tournament accolades.
- Indiana State University
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 sending largest group yet 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.
Indiana State to host 2014 MVC baseball tourney
Build it… and they will come. The Missouri Valley Conference and Indiana State University made that famous line from the movie “Fields Of Dreams” reality Thursday.
Behind 16 hits and Manaea's pitching, ISU beats Bradley
Indiana State’s baseball team rode a wild ride of emotion on Thursday.
First came the public announcement that Bob Warn Field would host the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Later, Sean Manaea’s availability to pitch ISU’s series opener against Bradley was in doubt.
TODD GOLDEN: Don't give up on ISU baseball just yet
If you had to pick one word that would describe the 2013 Indiana State baseball season, it would have to be frustration.
ISU baseball team builds on success with 14-2 rout
Indiana State’s baseball victory over Alcorn State on Friday would take on more meaning Saturday if the Sycamores could build momentum and pick up on the good work they did in Friday’s ninth-inning rally.
The Sycamores were aggressive from the opening inning at the plate and starting pitcher Devin Moore gave them eight valuable and effective innings on the mound as ISU defeated Alcorn State 14-2 at Bob Warn Field.
“It was a really good experience for everybody. It felt great to finally come out here and put some things together. It’s also really nice when your offense puts a lot of runs on the board,” Moore said.
Moore’s eight innings of work were as valuable as gold to an ISU team that is short on quality arms due to injury and ineffectiveness. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and one of the two runs he conceded was unearned.
ISU earns badly-needed win
Alcorn State’s baseball team might be ranked in the bottom 10 in RPI and Indiana State might have never lost to a Southwestern Athletic Conference team. So it wouldn’t appear that a quality win was in the offing when Alcorn State visited Bob Warn Field on Friday.
ISU’s Mascari and Hope win MVC track & field titles
Indiana State produced two champions during the opening day of action in the Missouri Valley Conference track and field championships Friday at Drake. Freshman John Mascari, a Terre Haute native, won the men’s 10,000-meter race and Nicole Hope won the women’s pole vault for the second time in three seasons.
ISU pole vault tradition continues with help from its author
Pole vault is track and field for the adrenaline junkie, Indiana State senior Nicole Hope proclaimed during a recent practice at Marks Field.
To catapult oneself about 14 feet into the air with a large $500 fiberglass pole on a daily basis is a risky endeavor.
“We have to be fearless. You can’t be afraid at all,” said Hope, who has also catapulted herself into the NCAA’s elite in the event, ranking 15th in the NCAA with her leap of 13-feet, 9 1/4.
Lansing looking for more home games for next fall
Indiana State’s men’s basketball team is looking for a few good games.
Home games that is.
The Sycamores have filled in most of the blanks in their nonconference schedule, but as ever, ISU coach Greg Lansing would like to visit the friendly confines of Hulman Center a bit more often.
ISU baseball gets back into rhythm with victory
Baseball is a rhythm game. With contests every day or five times a week in the case of many college programs, you have the chance to build on success or wallow in a slump.
Mother Nature took that rhythm away from Indiana State’s team last week. After a 7-1 loss to Indiana on April 24, ISU was supposed to play a three-game series at Tennessee-Martin, but it was wiped out by rain.
So the rhythm was disturbed, but perhaps that wasn’t a bad thing.
ISU was in a five-game losing streak before its unintended vacation and the Sycamores made a move in the right direction Wednesday with a 7-0 win over DePauw at Bob Warn Field.
“It was a disappointing weekend. We went all the way down to Tennessee and didn’t get to play. We sat around in the hotel room. We came here and it was still raining. It was nice to get out and see some live pitching,” ISU center fielder Landon Curry said.
Metro roundup: ISU hands out spring awards
The Indiana State University athletic community, along with family, friends and fans, paused Tuesday night to honor the spring sports teams at the Terre Haute Savings Bank Spring Sports Banquet.
Most of the ISU teams are still in competition with the baseball team having 13 games left of its regular-season schedule before beginning the Missouri Valley Conference tournament May 21, the softball team with just three games left of the docket this coming weekend against Southern Illinois and the track and field program with just one more meet before beginning its postseason events.
The ISU women’s golf team is the team that has ended at this time, with the group recording a sixth-place finish at the MVC championships one week ago.
Indiana State loses 2 in MVC softball
Indiana State aspired to upset Illinois State to get at least a doubleheader split in Missouri Valley Conference softball Thursday at Price Field as the Sycamores opened an eight-game season-ending homestand.
Paige Schreiner hit a two-run blast over the left-field fence in the fifth inning and junior Shelby Wilson delivered a sizzling RBI triple down the right-field line in the sixth as ISU ended the day playing well against the league’s highest-scoring offense.
The result was still a 5-3 loss to the Redbirds (26-18, 11-6 Missouri Valley Conference) as freshman Halle Humphrey gave up four runs in the first two innings. Humphrey, called upon to pitch the opener as well — she’s the only full-time pitcher remaining on the team — gave up six runs and eight hits as the Sycamores dropped a 6-1 game to start the day.
ISU, MVFC brace for change at FCS football level
It seemed so far-fetched.
Internet rumors circulated that Indiana State had been approached by the Sun Belt Conference to bring the Sycamores’ football team into the Sun Belt’s fold.
The Sun Belt is part of the Football Bowl Subdivision. Bowl football. Big boy football … and all it entails.
ISU football in good spirits after healthy Spring Game
Was Saturday afternoon’s weather an omen for Indiana State football as the Sycamores wrapped up spring practice with the annual Blue-White Game at Memorial Stadium? After several practices conducted in less-than-perfect conditions, they’d like to think so.
Loyola ready to take big step
Loyola University and the Missouri Valley Conference took their first steps together Friday and the MVC is hoping the Ramblers don’t have to take too many baby steps before they become a competitive part of the conference.
Sanford wraps up first spring with ISU
The final day of Indiana State football’s first Mike Sanford experience is upon the Sycamores.
Lansing excited about Etherington's signing with Sycamores
The spring signing period for men’s basketball is usually a time to use available scholarships to load up on junior college additions and transfers.
To find a diamond-in-the-rough at the high school level who can give you four years? That’s harder to come by.
Creighton sweep puts ISU in thick of things
In a difficult early-season Missouri Valley Conference schedule, Indiana State took its lumps. Unenviable back-to-back trips to contenders Missouri State and Wichita State had ISU reeling with five straight MVC losses eight days ago.
Second City in the Valley: Loyola joins the MVC
For the first time in its history, the Missouri Valley Conference will have a home in the Second City.
The Chicago Tribune confirmed Saturday via a Loyola University source that the Ramblers will replace Creighton as the MVC’s 10th team. Loyola — a member of the Horizon League — will join the MVC effective July 1.
Indiana State Director of Athletics Ron Prettyman — who was part of the MVC search committee that scouted potential replacements for Creighton — confirmed Sunday that the Ramblers were in the MVC loop.
Sycamore baseball holds off Creighton rally
By his own estimation, Indiana State baseball coach Rick Heller has been involved in close to 2,000 baseball games. If anyone has seen it all on the field, he’d be as good a candidate as any.
Devin Moore pitches gem in 6-1 victory over Creighton
A hip injury suffered by Indiana State ace starting pitcher Sean Manaea shuffled the Sycamores’ starting rotation for the second weekend running as it opened a Missouri Valley Conference home series against Creighton on Friday.
Sanford gets 2nd look at Sycamores
In the immediate aftermath of a practice, game, or in Friday’s case for Indiana State, a scrimmage, most football coaches defer to the film to paint a true picture of what was and wasn’t done. ISU coach Mike Sanford is no different. With the flurry of activity on both sides of the ball, it’s hard to get a true evaluation of anything watching it live.
ISU center FN Lutz glad to be back in the middle of things
For someone who missed an entire season due to a knee injury, Indiana State center FN Lutz has certainly kept himself visible since then.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU's Brandon Pounds the top collegian in Sea Ray relays
Indiana State senior Brandon Pounds was the top collegian in the men’s hammer throw and fellow senior Felisha Johnson opened up the Sycamores’ three-day competition at the University of Tennessee’s Sea Ray relays with a second-place finish in the women’s hammer throw.
Stealing records: ISU softball’s offense gaining momentum
The Indiana State softball offense is no juggernaut, but the fog may be clearing on a program that has had a long history of struggles with few signs of consistent winning.
Explosive, dedicated athletes like Morgan Allee and Megan Stone are two reasons to believe this group of Sycamores can spark a turnaround.
The Sycamores are scoring an average of 3.1 runs per game while also ranking in the middle of the Missouri Valley Conference pack in hits and batting average. But the Sycamores are on pace to break the school record for on-base percentage as they lead the MVC in walks, hit-by-pitches, sacrifice bunts and stolen bases.
Allee, with 17 regular-season games to go, broke the school record for stolen bases in a season Tuesday against IUPUI and is among the 10 best in the NCAA. Her total of 30 makes up almost half of ISU’s 74.
“I’m so big [that] they think I won’t go. It works out well,” the stocky shortstop said.
ISU’s QB battle
Quarterback battles come in all shapes and sizes, but one could forgive Indiana State’s Mike Perish, Robert Tonyan Jr. and Trent Lancaster if they feel a bit more beleaguered than your average signal-caller.
Not only is the trio fighting for the right to be named ISU’s starter by the Sycamores’ football opener Aug. 29 at Indiana University, but all three also are trying to learn a new offense, they’re acclimating themselves to new coach Mike Sanford’s different way of running things, and they’re trying to maintain harmony amongst each other, so whoever the ultimate winner is can effectively lead the team without angst.
All of it is playing out during ISU’s spring practice, and so far, none of the quarterback candidates have separated themselves from the pack.
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- ISU baseball hoping Manaea can get its MVC Tournament moving in right direction