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December 07, 2004

Eagles looking for strong performance before layoff

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EVANSVILLE, Ind.óThe University of Southern Indiana womenís basketball team will be looking for a strong performance in its last game before a 10-day layoff when it hosts the University of Missouri-St. Louis Wednesday at 5:15 p.m. at the Physical Activities Center.

USI (5-2, 2-2 GLVC) can get above .500 in the conference for the first time this season with a victory and would open the season with a 6-2 record despite the adversity it has gone through in the first month of the season.

The Screaming Eagles have had five players miss time with injuries and have played the first seven games without the services of senior guard Kennitra Johnson (New Albany, Indiana). Johnson, who has just one semester of eligibility left, will join the team at the end of the semester on December 18.

In her absence, the Eagles have used junior point guard Tiara Brown (Normal, Illinois) and sophomore guard Leah Stormont (Haubstadt, Indiana). Brown has done a great job at the point for the Eagles despite playing extended minutes due to the lack of depth at the position.

Brown is averaging 9.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, and a team-high 4.4 apg, while Stormont, who has battled through injury this season, is averaging 2.0 apg.

With freshman forward and leading scorer Jessica Minnick (Carmi, Indiana) out after suffering a season-ending knee injury during practice last week, the Eagles have turned to senior forward/centers Andrea Engleking (Charlottesville, Indiana) and Megan Nelson (Clarendon Hills, Illinois) to pick up the offensive slack. Engleking is averaging 14.7 ppg and shooting 62.1 percent from the floor in USIís last three games, while Nelson is shooting 64.7 percent from the floor and has averaged 9.0 ppg and 7.0 rpg during that span.

Senior guard Jamie Truitt (Owensboro, Kentucky) and junior guard/forward Ashley Green (Otterbein, Indiana) also have picked up their play, especially from the perimeter.

Truitt is averaging 15.3 ppg and has connected on 10 shots from three-point range in USIís last three games. She is averaging 12.2 ppg on the season and needs one more three-pointer for the 100th of her career at USI.

Green, who is averaging 7.6 ppg and a team-high 6.3 rpg, has become another long-range threat in the Eaglesí lineup. She is connecting on 52.9 percent of her shots from behind the arc, including a conference-best 77.8 percent against GLVC opposition.

UMSL (1-6, 0-4 GLVC) is led by senior forward Kali Birkeyís team-high 15.1 ppg and 6.0 rpg. The Riverwomen have lost five straight after starting the season 1-1. USI leads the all-time series 16-9 and is 7-3 against UMSL since 2000.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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