February 09, 2004
Eagles hope 400th win comes soon
When the University of Southern Indiana women's basketball team takes to the court Wednesday, February 11, against Wayne State University, the Screaming Eagles will be attempting to win their 400th game.
The Eagles (14-7, 8-7 GLVC) could use a win Wednesday night as they find themselves in the midst of an NCAA II Tournament race. While the Eagles are virtually assured a spot in this season's GLVC Tournament (USI needs just one GLVC win to clinch a spot in the tournament), a spot in the NCAA II Great Lakes Regional Tournament also is within reach.
USI was ranked eighth during last week's regional rankings and, despite a loss this past Saturday, could move up in the standings when the new rankings are released this Wednesday. A win over Wayne State University, a GLIAC school and a 2003 NCAA II Tournament participant, could go a long way for the Eagles in terms of tie-breakers at season's end.
One thing USI needs to do, however, is learn how to keep its momentum going. During the last three weeks, the Eagles have recorded huge victories on Thursday nights, only to have disappointing losses two days later. While the Eagles are an astonishing 13-1 when playing Sunday through Friday, they are just 1-6 when playing on Saturdays.
Records aside, the Eagles have been given opportunities to remain in the running for their first NCAA II Tournament berth since the 2001-02 season. With a balanced region, the Eagles must take advantage of a struggling Wayne State squad that enters the Physical Activities Center with a 9-11 record.
To do so, the Eagles will turn to a balanced scoring attack that has seen eight players lead them in scoring this season and seven players average 7.5 points per game or better.
USI has four players averaging in double-figures this season, led by junior guard Jamie Truitt (Owensboro, Kentucky), who ranks fourth in the GLVC with a team-high 16.0 points per game. Truitt, who has connected on 57 shots from behind the arc, is on pace to match Deb Pope's school-record 76 made three-pointers in a single season.
Complementing Truitt are senior forwards Shannon Wells (Merrillville, Indiana) and Shajuan Lindsey (Midlothian, Illinois), who are averaging 12.4 and 11.3 points per game, respectively. Junior guard Kennitra Johnson (New Albany, Indiana), who has been hampered by a foot injury this season, is averaging 10.9 points per game.
Freshman point guard Lauren Parrish (Shepherdsville, Kentucky) also has done her fair share of work for the Eagles. She leads USI in minutes played and has the team's best assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.36). Parrish also is averaging 8.7 points and a team-leading 3.4 assists per game.
In the paint, USI has seen production out of sophomore forward Ashley Green (Otterbein, Indiana) and junior forward/center Andrea Engleking (Charlottesville, Indiana). Green is averaging 7.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, while Engleking is adding 7.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest.
Wells and Lindsey lead the Eagles with 4.6 and 4.3 rebounds per game, respectively.
Defensively, the Eagles will have to contend with the Great Lakes Region's leading scorer in Wayne State senior guard Jodi Young. Young leads three WSU Warriors in double figures, averaging 22.1 points per game.
Joining Young in the double-figures category for the Warriors is senior guard Ebony Vincent and sophomore guard Kristen Rogers. Vincent is averaging 13.0 points and 6.5 assists per game, while Rogers is averaging 10.1 points per outing.
After their bout with WSU, the Eagles will have another opportunity at breaking their Saturday jinx and clinching a spot in the GLVC Tournament when they host the University of Missouri-St. Louis on Valentine's Day.
USI defeated the Riverwomen, 81-57, earlier in the year and will be looking to stop UMSL junior forward Kali Birkey and so