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January 27, 2004

Eagles looking to get over hump

Game Notes

When the University of Southern Indiana women's basketball team dropped #10 Quincy University last Thursday, the Screaming Eagles looked as if they finally had gotten over the hump. However, an unexpected setback against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has the Eagles back at square one, trying to put together a sustained winning streak and pick up momentum for the conference tournament and a possible berth in the NCAA II Tournament.

At 12-5 overall and 6-5 in the GLVC, the Eagles are in desperate need of putting together a winning streak. They are facing a crucial two-game road trip with games at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (Thursday, January 29, at 5:15 p.m.) and Saint Joseph's College (Saturday, January 31, at 1 p.m.).

After the road trip, the Eagles will be home for four straight games that include a pair of nationally-ranked teams in Northern Kentucky University and Bellarmine University. A pair of wins this weekend could prove crucial to jump-starting a USI's stretch run.

Thursday, the Eagles will face a UWP squad that is coming off a win at NKU last weekend. USI dispatched the Rangers earlier in the month, but still trail the UWP in the GLVC standings.

UWP (9-7, 6-4 GLVC) is currently a half-game ahead of the Eagles in the league standings for sixth place. The Eagles are within a game of fourth place, currently held by NKU and the University of Indianapolis, and two games out of third place, currently occupied by Bellarmine.

USI could make a move in the standings this weekend as Bellarmine will have to make road trips to Indianapolis and NKU.

The Eagles' success could hinge on their overall team health. They welcomed back junior guard Kennitra Johnson (New Albany, Indiana) last week, only to play without senior forward Shannon Wells (Merrillville, Indiana).

Wells was a vital cog in USI's 67-55 victory over the Rangers earlier this month. She scored eight of her 10 points in the second stanza.

If Wells cannot go, USI will look to sophomore forward Ashley Green (Otterbein, Indiana) and sophomore guard Clarissa Gross (Marion, Illinois) to fill the void. Green is coming off a career-high 15-point performance against SIUE, while Gross has shown flashes of brilliance in the starting lineup, scoring 15 points to go along with five steals and four assists against Kentucky Wesleyan College.

USI will need a big performance from junior guard Jamie Truitt (Owensboro, Kentucky) and senior forward Shajuan Lindsey (Midlothian, Illinois). Truitt leads USI and is fourth in the GLVC with 16.0 points per game, while Lindsey is averaging 11.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest.

In USI's last meeting with the Rangers, Truitt hit four three-pointers and finished with a game-high 24 points.

Underneath, it will be up to junior forward/center Andrea Engleking (Charlottesville, Indiana) to shut down the GLVC's fifth-leading scorer in UWP junior center Sammy Kromm. Engleking is averaging 7.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in her first season with the Eagles.

Kromm leads three UWP players in double-figure scoring (15.8 ppg) and is second on the team and 10th in the GLVC with 6.5 rebounds per outing. She had a team-high 18 points in her first run-in with the Eagles this season.

Joining Kromm in the double-digit scoring column is junior guard/forward Carrie Weir (13.8 ppg) and sophomore guard Carrie Schieve (11.8 ppg). Junior forward Jen Braier leads the team and is second in the GLVC with 8.3 rebounds per contest.

Saturday, the Eagles will have to contain the GLVC's leading scorer in SJC senior forward Heather Allen. Allen is averaging 18.3 points per game and leads the Pumas with 5.8 rebounds per outing.

SJC enters its battle with Kentucky Wesleyan College on Thursday night with a 5-12 mark and a 2-9 record in the GLVC. USI split last season's series wi

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