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December 16, 2002

Eagles looking to continue win streak in 100th game under Stein

Game Notes

When the University of Southern Indiana women's basketball team takes the court this Tuesday, December 17, it will be under the direction of head coach Rick Stein for the 100th time. It will also be looking to continue its solid play as the Screaming Eagles entertain the University of Illinois-Springfield in a 7:00 p.m. tip-off at the Physical Activities Center.

After getting out to a 1-4 start, the Eagles are looking to get back to .500 after consecutive wins against Saint Joseph's College and Marian College. In USI's first five games, it shot just 35.3 percent from the floor, 23.1 percent from behind the arc, and averaged just 59.2 points per game.

With a possible third straight victory on the horizon, the Eagles have been rejuvenated in their last two games. USI is connecting on 55.7 percent of its shots, 55.6 percent from three-point range, and is averaging 90.5 points per game.

"I think that over the last couple of weeks we have started to learn each other a little better," Stein explained. "We are starting to get the feel for each other as far as what our strengths are, both individually and as a team.

"Our newcomers are starting to mould into our system and the kind of things we are trying to do," Stein continued. "Our team, in general is starting to get better shots at the goal."

One of the reasons for USI's recent success is senior forward/center Africa Sherrod (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida). Sherrod is leading the team with 14.3 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. Her six consecutive double-doubles lead the GLVC and are the most since assistant coach LeAnn Freeland recorded six straight during the 1995-96 season.

"Averaging double-figures in rebounds is tremendous, especially with the tough schedule we have played," Stein said of Sherrod. "She is doing it against quality opponents. Right now, I think myself, the coaches, and our team has that expectation of her every night. She is going to get double-figure rebounds. She is going to find a way to get that double-double."

Another reason for USI's recent success is it has been protecting the ball in the first half. The Eagles were averaging 15.4 turnovers in the first half of games during their 1-4 start. However, they are averaging just 8.5 turnovers in the first periods of their last two games.

"Some of it is knowing each other," Stein said of the improvement USI has had in protecting the ball. "In the first few games we had, we had one person going one way and the ball going the other. Now we know the offense and what we are trying to get out of each thing we are doing out there offensively."

Adding to USI's scoring threat is junior forward Shajuan Lindsey (Midlothian, Illinois). Lindsey is second amongst Eagle scorers with 13.9 points per game. She has racked up double-figures in five of USI's first seven contests this season.

After its duel with the Prairie Stars, USI will travel north to take on Michigan Tech University in an important Great Lakes Regional showdown. The game is schedule for a 5 p.m. tip-off this Friday, December 20, in Houghton, Michigan.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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