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January 19, 2005

USI women looking to stop slide

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EVANSVILLE, Ind.—The University of Southern Indiana women’s basketball team will be looking to stop a four-game slide when it hosts Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Thursday at 5:15 p.m. at the Physical Activities Center. The Screaming Eagles will host Quincy University Saturday at 1 p.m.

USI (10-6, 3-6 GLVC) enters Thursday’s contest in desperate need of a victory after falling to ninth in the GLVC standings with a pair of losses last week.

The Eagles defeated the Cougars, 71-59, earlier in the season when senior guard Jamie Truitt (Owensboro, Kentucky) scored a game-high 19 points on the strength of four three-pointers and a 7-of-7 performance from the free throw line.

Truitt, who matched a career-high 31 points while connecting on a school-record nine three-pointers in a 71-62 loss at Saint Joseph’s College last Thursday, leads the Eagles with 14.5 points per game.

USI out-rebounded the Cougars 36-26 in the first meeting and will need a similar performance Thursday evening. Senior center Megan Nelson (Clarendon Hills, Illinois) and junior forward Sabrina Brandon (Danville, Illinois) combined for 22 points and 14 rebounds in that game.

One thing the Eagles need to cut down on is the amount of turnovers they have been committing. USI committed a combined 54 turnovers in its last two games and had 26 turnovers in its first meeting with SIUE.

The return of junior point guard Tiara Brown (Normal, Illinois) to the lineup should help the Eagles handle the ball better. Brown, who is averaging 9.6 points and 4.9 assists per game, did not make the road trip last week due to a violation in team policy.

SIUE (9-8, 4-4 GLVC), which is on a three-game winning streak that includes victories over Quincy and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, is led by sophomore forward Julianne McMillen and freshman guard Whitney Sykes. McMillen is averaging a team-best 11.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, while Sykes is chipping in 10.3 points per contest.

USI, which has not defeated the Cougars at the PAC since January 12, 2002, leads the all-time series with SIUE 21-20. The Eagles also lead the all-time series with Quincy, 16-9, after going 1-2 against the Hawks last season.

Quincy (10-6, 7-2 GLVC), which is tied with Bellarmine University for the top spot in the GLVC standings entering its game against the University of Missouri-St. Louis Thursday evening, is led by former USI All-American Jessica Stuckman. The senior forward, who spent her first two collegiate years with the Eagles, is averaging a team-high 18.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.

Dan McDonnell,
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