February 20, 2003
USI women's basketball facing crucial weekend
Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament slots are on the line this weekend when the University of Southern Indiana women's basketball team takes the floor against Lewis University and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. The Screaming Eagles sit alone in the eighth spot while Lewis is a game back and UWP is a game ahead of USI.
With a pair of wins this weekend, the Eagles will find themselves in a tie for seventh place. More importantly, the Eagles can clinch a spot in the GLVC Tournament with a pair of wins combined with a Lewis loss to the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a UMSL loss to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
One half of that scenario could be played out Thursday night when Lewis travels to UMSL. USI was originally scheduled to play UWP on Thursday, but due to the death of UWP junior guard Christine Rathke, the game has been rescheduled to Sunday at 3 p.m.
Instead of opening the weekend's action with UWP, the Eagles will have a chance to put separation between themselves and the Flyers of Lewis on Saturday. USI enters the game with a 7-16 overall record and a 5-11 mark in the GLVC while the Flyers are 8-15 overall and 4-12 in the GLVC
USI's last meeting with the Flyers did not go as planned as Lewis tagged a 78-68 loss to the Eagles. The Eagles went into the break with a one point lead but a 1-of-11 performance from behind the arc and an 8-of-13 stint from the charity stripe hampered their efforts in the second half.
With Saturday's game representing Senior Day for the Eagles, it would be fitting for the Eagles to get big performances out of their three seniors forward/center Africa Sherrod (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida), guard/forward Sarah McIntosh (Cabery, Illinois), and guard Bethany Miller (Princeton, Indiana).
Sherrod is coming off a 27-point performance against the GLVC-front running University of Indianapolis and will be looking to duplicate the 21-point performance she posted in USI's first clash with the Flyers. Her team-high 16.8 points per outing are third in the league while her 10.3 rebounds per game and 15 double-doubles are tops in the league.
If the Eagles can get Sherrod going in the low post, look for McIntosh to hurt the Flyers from the perimeter. In her last two games at the PAC, McIntosh has been red-hot from behind the arc, nailing down 62.5 percent (10-of-16) of her shots from long range and averaging 18.5 points.
Distribution of the ball has been a telling sign all season for the Eagles. Miller has been a big factor in USI's success in that category.
In USI's seven wins this season, Miller has averaged 4.9 assists per game. In USI's 16 losses, she has averaged 3.6 assists per game.
Junior forward Bryanne Callahan leads the Flyers with 13.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Callahan dropped in 12 points and brought down eight rebounds in Lewis's first meeting with the Eagles.
In that meeting, senior guard Kari Wong and senior forward Faith Smith led the way for the Flyers. Wong scored a game-high 25 points and dished out six assists while Smith chipped in 16 points and eight rebounds. Smith is second on the squad with 10.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while Wong is third on the team with 10.0 points and first on the team with 5.5 assists per game.
Despite missing the presence of junior forward Shajuan Lindsey (Midlothian, Illinois), the Eagles were able to come within four points of defeating Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Lindsey is second amongst USI scorers with 12.5 points per game.
In USI's first meeting with the Lady Rangers, junior guard/forward Shannon Wells (Merrillville, Indiana) led the Eagles with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Wells also scored 17 points against Lewis earlier in the season.
Sophomore forward Sammy Kromm leads UWP with a conference-high 19.3 points per game. Kromm scored 22 points i<