February 03, 2004
Stretch-run crucial for Eagles' post-season hopes
At 13-6 overall and 7-6 in the GLVC, the University of Southern Indiana women's basketball team is in desperate need of a winning streak and the time could be ripe for one as the Screaming Eagles play four straight home games and six of their last eight in the friendly confines of the Physical Activities Center.
To start the stretch, the Eagles, who are seventh in the GLVC, welcome a Northern Kentucky University team that pinned an 83-74 loss on USI last month. Thursday's game time is slated for 5:15 p.m. Saturday, the Eagles will face Bellarmine University for Homecoming 2004 at 5:15 p.m.
After a loss at Saint Joseph's College last Saturday, the Eagles need two victories to gain momentum. The Eagles have posted a pair of big victories during the last two weeks only to fall in the following games.
USI's Achilles heel this season has been Saturdays. The Eagles are a dismal 1-5 in games played on Saturdays, while they are 12-1 the rest of the time.
Defense and rebounding have been USI's short falls in the six Saturdays contests. The Eagles are being out-rebounded by nearly 11 rebounds per game and are allowing the opposition to shoot 54.1 percent from the floor, including 41.8 percent from behind the arc.
In comparison, USI holds more than a two rebound-per-game advantage in games that are not played on Saturdays. The Eagles' also have held the opposition to 43.2 percent from the floor and 34.8 percent from behind the arc during those 13 games.
Nonetheless, the Eagles must start playing with consistency if they want to contend for a higher seed in the GLVC Tournament and a spot in the NCAA II Tournament. As of last Wednesday, the Eagles were eighth in the NCAA II Great Lakes Regional rankings, marking the first time USI has been in the rankings since the end of the 2001-02 season.
Offensively, USI's success can be attributed to a well balanced scoring attack that has seen eight players lead it in scoring.
Leading USI's scoring attack is junior guard Jamie Truitt (Owensboro, Kentucky). She ranks fourth in the GLVC with 15.5 points per game and second in the league in made three-pointers (2.53 per game).
Complimenting Truitt's presence from the outside is junior forward/center Andrea Engleking (Charlottesville, Indiana). Engleking is averaging 7.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. She ranks third in the league in shooting percentage (.569).
With the inside-outside game of Truitt and Engleking, senior forwards Shannon Wells (Merrillville, Indiana) and Shajuan Lindsey (Midlothian, Illinois) can be expected to provide both. Wells is second on the team with 12.0 points per game, while Lindsey is averaging 11.0 points per outing.
Perhaps the most critical part of USI's offensive attack is freshman point guard Lauren Parrish (Shepherdsville, Kentucky). Parrish is averaging 8.1 points and 3.3 assists per game in her first season of collegiate basketball.
NKU (13-5, 8-4 GLVC) is led by sophomore forward Sharrell Snardon and junior forward Connie Myers. Snardon, who has played in just 13 games this season, is averaging a team-leading 15.9 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, while Myers is averaging 14.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per outing. Myers ripped the Eagles to the tune of 22 points and 10 rebounds in their first meeting this season.
Junior guard Nikki Perkins is adding 11.2 points per game.
Bellarmine (12-7, 8-5 GLVC) is led by a trio of players averaging in double-figures. Senior center Shanta Bowens is tied with Truitt for fourth in the GLVC with a team-high 15.5 points per contest to go along with a conference-high 8.4 rebounds per game.
Junior center Lindsey Neal is third on the team with 13.6 points per game and is second in the GLVC with 8.3 rebounds per outing, while junior forward Lynne Johnson is second amongst the Knights with 14.5 points per contest.