December 17, 2001
Elite Eight riding on USI-Northern Michigan series?
When the 10th-ranked University of Southern Indiana and the 14th-ranked Northern Michigan University women basketball teams tip off Tuesday evening at the Physical Activities Center, one question is sure to arise: “Will history repeat itself?” If history does repeat itself, than the winner of the USI-NMU will play in the 2002 NCAA Division II Elite Eight.
Tuesday’s game marks the fifth time the two teams have met at center court. The Screaming Eagles have played the Wildcats four times, in three seasons, and have a 3-1 edge in the series. The winner of each contest has gone on to win the NCAA II Great Lakes Regional and advance to the NCAA II Elite Eight.
In the 1995-96 season, NMU defeated the Eagles, 89-77, en route to a 25-5 record, a NCAA II Great Lakes Regional championship, and its first ever NCAA II Elite Eight appearance. That game was at the Physical Activities Center.
USI got its revenge in the 1996-97 season, defeating the defending regional champions in the season opener, 84-74, and once again in the NCAA II Great Lakes Regional Championship game, 78-67. The Eagles posted a 30-2 record that season and advanced to the NCAA II Championship game. Both games, interestingly, were at Northern Michigan.
Last season, the Eagles met the Wildcats for the fourth time, and for a second time in the NCAA II Great Lakes Regional Championship game. Once again, the Eagles were victorious and heading to the NCAA II Elite Eight. This match-up was on a neutral site in Houghton, Michigan.
This season finds the two squads competing for their respective conference championships and regional position as they head into the January and February months.
The Eagles enter Tuesday’s game with an 8-3 overall record and a 5-2 mark against Great Lakes regional opposition while the Wildcats are on a three-game winning streak and a 4-1 overall record, 2-0 in the Great Lakes region.
Leading the way for the Eagles is sophomore forward Jessica Stuckman (Quincy, Illinois) and senior guard Jasmine Moore (Chicago, Illinois). Stuckman leads the team with 21.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, while Moore is adding 14.3 points per game in addition to a team-high 3.8 assists and 3.5 steals per contest.
The Eagles also are getting plenty of scoring help from junior center Africa Sherrod (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) and sophomore guard Erin Wall (New Albany, Indiana). Sherrod is contributing 11.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game while Wall has averaged 11.6 points and 2.8 assists in the last five contests.
Senior guard Marissa DellAngelo and junior forward Elena Keranen are leading the Wildcats’ scoring attack. DellAngelo is leading the team 20.0 and 4.2 assists while Keranen 12.8 points and team-high 9.0 rebounds. Senior center Kelly Simcik and red-shirt freshman guard Morgan Simcik are averaging 10.8 and 10.6 per game, respectively.
Tuesday’s game is schedule for a 5:15 p.m. tip off.
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