Women's Hoops Heads to Missouri State, Wichita State
January 31, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Evansville women's basketball team will wrap up the first half of its Missouri Valley Conference schedule this season, when the Purple Aces travel to Missouri State and Wichita State to close out a three-game road swing. UE will play the Lady Bears in Springfield, Mo., Friday night at 7:05 p.m., before making the trip to Wichita, Kan., for a 2 p.m. game that will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
Evansville (7-11, 2-5 MVC) enters Friday's contest having lost five of its last six games, including three-straight, after falling to Southern Illinois, 66-57, last Sunday in Carbondale, Ill. The Aces have been without their second-leading scorer (12.1 ppg) and the MVC's top rebounder (10.5 rpg) in Mallory Ladd for their last three games and have been outscored by a combined 54 points in those contests.
Freshman Sara Dickey led UE with a game-high 30 points in the loss to the Salukis, marking the first time that an Evansville player has scored 30 or more in a game, since Ashely Austin put up 31 against Indiana State in 2009. Dickey finished 12-for-18 from the field and sank the Aces' lone three-point field goal to earn MVC Newcomer of the Week honors for the fourth time this season. Senior Katie Ellerson also finished in double figures with 10 points, while freshman Sasha Robinson grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
Individually, Dickey leads the Valley in scoring (18.1 ppg) and has scored in double figures in 17 of Evansville's 18 games this season. The freshman guard is shooting 34.2 percent from the field and ranks second on the squad with a 29.2 percent three-point percentage. Junior Kat Taylor, who missed Sunday's game at SIU with an injury, is averaging 11.9 points per outing and is shooting a team-best 85.9 percent from the charity stripe. Freshman Dakota Weatherford leads the Aces with 66 assists and 35 steals, and has accumulated a 24:12 assist-to-turnover ratio in league games.
Evansville is scoring 67.8 points per game and shooting 36.1 percent from the field as a team, but it ranks 10th in the Valley with a 62.1 points per game average in league games. The Aces are hitting 26.9 percent of their shots from behind the arc and have connected on 73.0 percent of their free throw attempts. UE is being outrebounded by a -0.9 margin this season and has turned the ball over an average of 15.7 times per game, while forcing the same about of miscues by its opponents.
Missouri State (8-10, 3-4 MVC) split a pair of road games at Indiana State and Illinois State last weekend, as the Lady Bears fell to the Sycamores, 74-57, in Terre Haute, Ind., before outlasting the Redbirds, 75-72, in Normal, Ill. Tyonna Snow led three MSU players in double figures with 15 points in the loss to Indiana State, as Katie Palmer added 12 off the bench and Bry Snow finished with 10. Sunday at Illinois State, Missouri State overcame 24 turnovers by shooting 51.9 percent from the field. Tyonna Snow once again led the Lady Bears by scoring 14 points and Kenzie Williams added 13 in the victory.
On the season, Williams leads MSU in scoring (14.9 ppg), has registered a team-high 41 assists and ranks second on the team in rebounding (5.1 rpg). Sisters Tyonna Snow and Bry Snow rank second and third on the team in scoring at 13.1 and 11.6 points per contest, respectively, with Bry grabbing a team-best 5.7 boards per outing. Tyonna has been Missouri State's top defender, as she leads the MVC with 53 steals.
The Lady Bears average 68.2 points per game, while conceding 71.5 per contest and are shooting 40.4 percent from the field, good for third in the conference. MSU has sunk 32.0 percent of its three-point field goals and is shooting 66.1 percent at the foul line. Missouri State owns a +1.8 rebounding margin and is forcing 16.7 turnovers per game, including 9.5 steals per contest.
Wichita State (16-2, 7-0 MVC), who have won 15-straight games, will host Southern Illinois Friday night, before welcoming Evansville to Koch Arena on Sunday afternoon. The Shockers enter Friday night's meeting as the lone unbeaten team in the MVC, after topping Illinois State and Indiana State last weekend.
WSU downed the Redbirds, 74-58, behind a game-high 21 points from Kelsey Jacobs. Alex Harden (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Michelle Price (10 points, 10 rebounds) both finished with double-doubles, as Wichita State shot 59.3 percent in the second half. In a battle of the Valley's last two unbeaten teams, the Shockers posted a convincing, 83-63, win over the Sycamores. Jamillah Bonner led WSU with 23 points, while Harden and Alie Decker added 18 and 17 points, respectively. Wichita State outrebounded Indiana State, 36-24, and sank 59.2 percent of its shot attempts, including a 73.7 percent mark (14-for-19) in the second half.
Harden, the MVC Preseason Player of the Year, leads the Shockers in scoring (16.1 ppg) and ranks second on the squad in field goal percentage (52.4 percent), three-point percentage (42.3 percent) and free throw percentage (80.3 percent). Harden also ranks second in the league with 95 assists, against just 43 turnovers for a league-leading 2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio. Bonner is adding 13.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest for the Shockers, while Price averages 12.0 points per outing and leads the squad in rebounding at 7.1 boards per game.
As a team, WSU leads the MVC in several categories, including scoring offense (73.6 ppg), scoring defense (56.8 ppg), field goal percentage (46.3 percent), field goal percentage defense (37.1 percent), three-point percentage (37.0 percent), rebounding margin (+2.9) and turnover margin (+5.06). Wichita State is forcing 19.5 opponent turnovers per game, including 9.8 steals per outing, while only committing 14.4 turnovers per contest.
Missouri State leads the all-time series with Evansville, 31-10, and has won nine of the last 10 meetings. The Aces' lone win in that span came last season at the Ford Center, when UE defeated the Lady Bears, 77-53, on Education Day. In addition, Evansville is 1-19 all-time in games against MSU played in Springfield, as its lone road win in the series was a 57-55 victory in the 2006-07 regular-season finale.
The all-time series between Evansville and Wichita State is tied, 20-20, but the Shockers have prevailed in the last five meetings. Last season, WSU earned a narrow, 49-45, win at the Ford Center, before a convincing, 68-49, triumph in Wichita.