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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- Sports Columns
TILL IT'S OVER: Terre Haute Triathlon's new race director seeks more events for his hometown
Today is the day for the Thunder in the Valley, and the Terre Haute Triathlon is under new leadership in 2013, the 28th year for the event at Hawthorn Park.
A former Terre Haute North track and cross country standout, Ethan Page is the race director as the race falls under the reign of Page’s new company, Crossroads Events.
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.
TRACKSIDE: Terre Haute's Carmichael enjoying strong spring in modifieds, stocks
It might have been cold and blustery at Charleston Speedway on Saturday night, but for Terre Haute driver Kenny Carmichael the evening couldn’t have been more pleasant.
From Terre Haute to the major leagues: Phegley's play could earn him promotion to Chicago
Josh Phegley's debut in the Major Leagues could be coming to a ballpark near you.
There's an expert at Parker's Archery
As I was driving the winding roadways of southern Indiana, a rustic building caught my attention and the sign on the front revealed it to be an archery shop called Parkers Archery.
TRACKSIDE: Rain still a pain for Wabash Valley racing organizers
Soggy weather conditions, which have rightfully drawn the ire of Wabash Valley race fans and crews in recent days, continue to plague promoters where it hurts the most — their pocketbooks.
RAMBLIN’ RECK: Pacers having a ‘Garden Party’
The Indiana Pacers are back in form and looking good.
KENNY BAYLESS: Sponsors sought for 'Ladies Only' event at Terre Haute Sporting Clays
Sponsors are being sought at the Ladies Only event at Terre Haute Sporting Clays on Saturday at 10 a.m. Sponsors should be willing to donate $1 or more for every broken bird. Each lady is allowed 25 shots. Flat donations are gladly accepted. Also, organizers are looking for more ladies to participate. Ammo, clay birds, and guns (if needed) will be furnished.
College Report: Lively earned collegiate upgrade with strong play
Hillary Lively signed to play Division II basketball at Maryville (Mo.) during her senior year at North Vermillion, but those plans changed and she would up at nearby Danville Area Community College — where she recently concluded an outstanding two-year career.
Lively was impressive enough to earn a Division I scholarship to Southeast Missouri State of the Ohio Valley Conference, and both her future and past college coaches think she will continue to succeed there.
“She fits what we need,” SEMO coach Ty Margenthaler said. “She has college experience, she is strong and physical and plays well around the basket and moves well.
“Her strength, rebounding and touch around the basket will be a big help. On the defensive end, she’ll be able to guard a true center.”
RAMBLIN' RECK: It’s May … a time for horses and horsepower
It’s the first day of May, a great month for sports.
It begins with the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. My Old Kentucky Home is played before the start of the race on which hundreds of bets will be placed by folks who ordinarily don’t bet on thoroughbred horse racing.
A week later, practice begins for the Indianapolis 500.
Terre Haute runner sets up race to help Boston
Having competed in the Boston Marathon once before in 2003, 35-year-old Majel Wells of Terre Haute thought she should give it another try in 2013.
“My goal was just to finish and enjoy Boston,” she reflected this week. “I had an injury [runner’s knee] beforehand, so I wasn’t too worried about beating my time from 2003 [4 hours, 10.20 seconds].
“But nobody cares about what your time is at Boston anyway.”
From what I’ve heard over the years, she’s right. Unless you’re a super-serious runner, the Boston Marathon has been more about taking in the atmosphere and having fun than placing in the top 50, although Wells was pleased that she beat her previous time by finishing in 3:55.19 on April 15.
Obviously, her race time wasn’t the most vivid memory that Wells took away from her 2013 Boston experience.
Amey Takes Aim: NHL playoffs to put TVs to good use
If Jenny had known, she probably wouldn’t have bought that TV.
But four or five years ago, my Fathers Day present — for those unfamiliar with Amey family traditions, the Fathers Day one is “let’s get something we all really want and pretend it’s a gift for Dad” — was a 42-inch Vizio. It’s been used even more than the cell phone I never would have bought for myself, or the TomTom that disappeared since Jenny’s smartphone arrived.
And it came with high-def.
I’m not going to insult you by telling you how great high-def is, because to do so would be to imply that you are even farther behind the technological curve than I am. I’m guessing, however, that not all of you have yet discovered what it does for hockey.
Foot Notes: ISU track athletes looking to keep improving at Drake Relays
Indiana State’s track schedule has helped its men’s and women’s teams escape the glacial Wabash Valley weather and enjoy warm days in Auburn, Ala., and Knoxville, Tenn.
With the Sycamores’ track facility basically laid to rest for competition and construction on a new one planned near the Wabash River to begin in 2014, major kudos go to everyone involved for continuing to produce athletes that are NCAA contenders who race with some of the world’s best.
Some of ISU’s current athletes are hoping for season-best performances this weekend against strong competition in the Drake Relays.
Former Sycamore NCAA pole-vault champion Kylie Hutson, who competes professionally for Nike and trains in her hometown of Terre Haute, also has been in Des Moines, Iowa, to compete in the Pole Vault in the Mall on Wednesday night.
REDNECK QUAKER: Variety of birds to search for in turkey hunting
My father-in-law, Donnell Dunn of Jacksonville, Fla., is a retired engineer from J.I. Case and an avid reader and loves information on anything he takes interest in. He has five patents under his belt during his career.
Donnell took great interest in the Turkey World Slam display at Gander Mountain and thought each bird needed some info to help people understand more about them.
TRACKSIDE: USAC racing picking up, including Sunday's stop in Terre Haute
With a break in the weather, U.S. Auto Club-sanctioned racing will kick into high gear on the area motorsports scene this weekend with events scheduled at three Indiana ovals.
Ramblin’ Reck: Sato first Foyt winner since 2002
Takuma Sato made Izod IndyCar Series history Sunday when he won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Former South players to play in Saylor benefit game
I had my first phone conversation with Mike Saylor since mid-February on Thursday and he sounded good.
The former Terre Haute South High School boys basketball coach, who’s been battling cancer this year, has been traveling back and forth to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for chemotherapy treatments.
COLLEGE REPORT: Valley prep athletes getting ready for next level
The NCAA “regular” signing period begins Wednesday for all sports except football, field hockey, soccer, track and field, cross country and men’s water polo.
RAMBLIN’ RECK: Pacers closing out a nice season
In case you hadn’t noticed, the final games of the regular season will be played this week in the National Basketball Association.
Amey Takes Aim: Can’t bottle the joy of Amey vacations
The first bad sign was the Gatorade bottle.
In the Bataan-Death-March drive to Orlando that got the Amey family spring break vacation off to a bad start, seeing it between lanes of I-24 — as we zipped along at a 100-miles-in-five-hours clip — filled with an ominous yellow liquid was a little bit scary. And although we didn't stop to check for sure, I'm fairly certain I knew about its contents.
And the person stuck in the same traffic jam with us, the one with the existential license plate YMIHR4, couldn’t have asked a more pertinent question.
But, after seeing a lot more of Oak Grove, Ky., than we’d planned, and after enduring more traffic slowdowns in Nashville, we were on our way. Even some rain in the dark in the Smokies didn’t slow us down much, so you would think our first-day troubles were over.
You would be wrong.
Redneck Quaker: Mascari gets thrills from turkey hunting
Annie Mascari is a beautiful, vibrant, 26-year-old lady that loves the outdoors.
She comes from a large family of four brothers and a sister and lives the teachings of good family values.
Olivia Rightly let me know that I “should talk to my teacher at St. Pats School, Ms. Mascari, because she’s taken a turkey.”
As I shook Annie’s hand, I could feel the energy she has for life. As proof, the first time she went up in an airplane, she jumped out of it!
She’s also quite the hunter. Mascari picked up a used PSE bow for $30, one for a left-hander because her left eye is dominate for shooting. The Page Arrows are her choice for broadheads.
RAMBLIN’ RECK: Louisville gets two shots at NCAA title
Louisville met Michigan in the championship game of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on Monday. Louisville faces Connecticut in the title tilt of the women’s tournament tonight.
REDNECK QUAKER: Learning to shoot clays a great experience
Tom Mitchell from Burnett is an all-around outdoor enthusiast. His passions are motorcycles, cars, and most of all, shooting sports. When he sights in on metal target shooting with a hand gun or rifle you will hear a lot of “clang” noises, he can shoot very quiet also, because he is licensed to own suppressers.
TRACKSIDE: Racing season picking up speed
With several tracks already open and others scheduled to get underway this weekend it’s a sure sign the area motorsports campaign has taken the green flag for the 2013 season.
RAMBLIN’ RECK: Out with the hoops, in with the bats
It’s a super week for sports fans — college basketball comes to a close and the first baseball games are played in the major leagues.
COLLEGE REPORT: Conferences honor Valley softball players
Several Wabash Valley area college softball players have been honored by their respective conferences for outstanding play this spring.
FROM THE PRESSBOX: Content McKenna has enjoyed seeing ISU's progress
It all happened so fast in June 2010.
One minute, Kevin McKenna was head coach of the Indiana State men’s basketball program. Then — poof! — he was gone.
McKenna resigned from his head coaching position at ISU on June 13, 2010 to take an assistant coach position on Dana Altman’s then-burgeoning University of Oregon staff.
FROM THE PRESSBOX: NCAA got it right with Louisville in Indianapolis
The worst decision and the best decisions made by the NCAA Tournament selection committee shared space on Lucas Oil Stadium’s hardwood Friday night.
The Midwest Regional’s opener pitted Louisville and Oregon, two teams that were on the opposite sides of the NCAA’s coin on Selection Sunday.
Oregon, winner of the Pac-12 Tournament and Pac-12 runner-up in the regular season, was shockingly seeded 12th in the Midwest Region.
ANDY AMEY: Farewell to basketball
I believe you’ve heard me say before — just about a year ago, perhaps — that a boys high school basketball season that ends with the Tribune-Star in Bankers Life Fieldhouse can’t be considered a bad one, which is why we have a little celebrating to do thanks to the Linton Miners.
Lover of irony that I am, I’ve also got to point out that this season was another branch sprouting from the Wabash Valley’s most legendary coaching tree, that of Joe Hart.
Joe never got much credit for his work at Dugger, but he took Brody Boyd, Clark Golish and the Bulldogs to a state championship game in 2000, and since then three of his former players — Joe Pigg, Clint Swan and now Joey Hart, his son — also have coached teams in the final game of the season.
Joe probably wishes he could take credit for Doc Nash, another down-home type who gave a banjo lesson earlier Saturday in leading Borden past a bigger, more athletic Triton team (banjo lesson is a Howard Sharpism, for you younger readers), but his lineage is still the best I can think of around here.
RAMBLIN’ RECK: Field down to 16 — but one No. 1 is out
The field is down to 16 in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship with most of the top teams still in the field.
- More Sports Columns Headlines
- TILL IT'S OVER: Terre Haute Triathlon's new race director seeks more events for his hometown