New Albany guard Tanner Marcum has signed with the USI women’s basketball team, according to a tweet – forwarded to me by one of the Courier & Press’ intrepid sports reporters, Jonathan Lintner – that quotes New Albany coach Tammy Geron. The 5-8 Marcum averaged 22 points, 5.4 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 3.7 steals for the Bulldogs during her senior season. Marcum ended up third on New Albany’s all-time scoring list with 1,216 points as well as second in career steals (318) and third in career assists (336). She also was named to the Louisville Courier-Journal’s Southern Indiana All-Area team. I heard that USI coach Rick Stein had not yet seen her signed letter of intent. According to NCAA rules, he cannot comment until USI officially receives that signed letter.
The USI men fell from fourth to sixth in the latest Midwest Region rankings, with Wayne State moving up to fourth and Michigan Tech up to fifth. Drury remained first, Bellarmine second and Wisconsin-Parkside third. Kentucky Wesleyan is still ninth and needs to rise at least one spot to have a chance at getting into the NCAA Tournament (eight teams receive berths, which are given out the night of March 10, which is the final day of the GLVC Tournament at the Ford Center).
As for the USI women, they remained 10th in the region. At this point it seems like they will have to win the GLVC Tournament title to get into the NCAA tourney.
USI’s women’s basketball team will have to win a play-in game on Sunday if it is going to participate in the GLVC Tournament at the Ford Center March 7-10. And they’ll have to win it on the road.
No matter how you slice it, the Eagles (17-8 overall, 9-8 GLVC) can’t be any higher than a No. 9 seed for the tournament, and they could end up as low as a No. 11. At the moment USI is 10th. At this point, the Eagles could be traveling to Missouri S&T, Quincy, Wisconsin-Parkside, Indianapolis, Missouri-St. Louis or William Jewell. They haven’t played S&T or William Jewell. As for the others, USI has beaten Missouri-St. Louis at the PAC, lost at Quincy, beat UIndy at the PAC and lost to the Greyhounds on the road, and lost both games to Parkside, which turned out to be the two worst defeats USI has suffered this season. The scenarios are complicated at the moment, so I won’t go into them. Just say that a win over Kentucky Wesleyan on Thursday night at home would help the Eagles.
But if you still want predictions, here are two from USI sports information assistant Dan McDonnell. He figures that a USI win on Thursday will get it a date at Indianapolis on Sunday. If USI loses, he thinks the Eagles will play at Parkside. Frankly, neither one sounds appealing to me, but going to Indy would be a shorter trip and the Eagles have beaten the Greyhounds once.
For the record, Lewis, Kentucky Wesleyan and Maryville have secured first-round byes so far.
With its 13-point loss at home on Saturday to one of the worst teams in the GLVC, the USI women’s basketball team is all but out of the running for a berth in the NCAA Division II tournament. The only sure way for the Eagles, now 17-8 overall but just 9-8 in the league, to get in is to win the GLVC Tournament title at the Ford Center. They came into their last two games ranked 10th in the Midwest Region, then lost back-to-back games, the first at Bellarmine on Thursday night (the NCAA takes only eight teams into each regional). But this loss to McKendree University at the PAC — a team that had won its only two GLVC games against winless Saint Joseph’s — pretty much caps the season for USI.
Again, the culprit was terrible outside shooting. The Eagles hit just four of 25 3-point attempts, although it seemed far worse than that. They got open looks galore but couldn’t connect. What was worse was the overall shooting. Get off 73 shots, as USI did on Saturday, you should collect more than just 20 baskets. And this time Anna Hackert, she of the multiple double-double games in points and rebounds, finally had a bad game. She scored just one point, went 0-for-6 from the field and fouled out.
Next up is Kentucky Wesleyan at the PAC on Thursday night, the regular-season finale. It won’t be USI’s final game, like last year’s Wesleyan game was. The Eagles have qualified for the GLVC Tournament. But they will have to win a play-in game next Sunday, probably on the road, to get to the Ford Center. If they don’t improve, they won’t be playing in downtown Evansville.
I take it all back. USI’s Anna Hackert is not, I repeat NOT, in a slump. She just happened to have two off games and why not — even she’s human. But she’s an amazing human. Until Saturday’s win at Saint Joseph’s, USI had not had any outside shooting to speak of for the last nine games, going 31-for-136 from beyond the 3-point arc. Still, Hackert has continued to put up double-doubles in points and rebounds more often than not despite ferocious double-teaming and even triple-teaming. After those two aforementioned “bad” games she threw down 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against Indianapolis, then came back with 13 points and 13 boards against St. Joe. Those give her nine double-doubles for the season. For the year she’s averaging 15.0 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Numbers like that must mean she’s a lock for first team all-GLVC and all-Midwest Region. She might even have a good shot at being named a D-II all-American.
Can’t really say the best player on the USI women’s basketball team is mired in a slump when it only involves two games, but let’s throw it out there anyway. The facts: Hackert, in the win over Lewis and the dreadful loss to Wisconsin-Parkside, totaled just 15 points, eight against Lewis and seven against Parkside. She did grab 13 rebounds in the Lewis game, but only had six in the game versus the Rangers. More worrying was her shooting totals — she was just 3-for-8 against Lewis and 2-for-6 against Parkside. Those two games were very different from her previous 15, during which she always scored in double figures and took more than 10 shots in every contest but two and in those two she was 8-for-9 and 7-for-8 from the field. Maybe USI’s opponents have finally figured out how to control her. If that’s true, coach Rick Stein must find a way to keep getting her the ball. But in the end the best solution would be successful outside shooting. Over the Eagles’ last four games they are averaging 20.3 percent — 11-for-54 — from 3-point range.
The sophomore on the USI women’s basketball team has been named Player of the Month by the Women’s Division II Bulletin, and she deserves every bit of that accolade. Over the last nine games, all in January, she’s averaged a double-double, with 16.9 points and 10.9 rebounds. She’s also shooting 53 percent from the field and has registered five double-doubles in points and rebounds, including four in a row and seven for the season.
Somebody asked me the other day if she could wind up being selected as the national player of the year, and I said it really depends on what USI does in the postseason, especially how deep they go in the NCAA Tournament (if they get in, of course). That said, I think she’s well on her way to being named a D-II all-American if she keeps this up. And she just keeps getting better and better. Why, over the last three games — which the Eagles have lost — she’s averaged 17.3 points and 13.7 rebounds. That includes the career-high 20 rebounds she pulled down against Kentucky Wesleyan.
I can’t remember a women’s player at USI who’s been this effective since the last time I covered the Eagles more than 10 years ago. The only player who was similar from that period was all-American Eileen Weber, who also stood over 6 feet. But she was more of a slasher and shooter while Hackert is a muscle-it-up, take-over-the-entire-space-under-the-basket bruiser. One thing they have in common is an extremely soft touch around the basket.
I recall lots of people declaring that coach Rick Stein got a steal when he signed Hackert out of Memorial High School. She would have been the star player on any other team, but she was second to Mallory Ladd on the Tigers’ roster — and Ladd went on to finish second for the Miss Basketball award, play on the Indiana All-Star Team and is now starring at the University of Evansville. And USI fans get to enjoy Hackert for two more years.
Chancellor Dugan returns to USI on Thursday night, but this time as the coach of the Bellarmine women’s basketball team. The former USI coach can’t wait. Actually, she’d rather not have to meet her former assistant, USI head coach Rick Stein. But that’s the subject of my latest column here. Instead,let’s get into why she left Division I to return to Division II.
One reason: she quit her job. Actually, she was pushed out of her job when the president and acting athletic director at Florida Atlantic offered her a one-year contract when she wanted a three-year deal. Granted, she did not have a winning record at FAU. But I think she was also relieved she was leaving, which seems to be another reason for her exit.
“Florida is nice — for the first couple of years,” she said. “Then it’s the same every day. You get tired of it.”
Then, when she took her job in Louisville with Bellarmine, Floridians thought she was nuts.
“When they found out I was going back north, they were saying, ‘Oh gosh, you’re gonna freeze up there. It’s cold!’ But I just like the change of seasons. I like that basketball is number one in the state of Kentucky. It matters to people. In Florida, everybody knows everything about football. In Kentucky, everybody knows everything about basketball.”
Looking at the USI women’s basketball team’s last three games — all losses — one stat leaps out: the team has shot an almost microscopic 17.3 percent (9-for-52) from 3-point range. The Eagles went 4-for-21 at Kentucky Wesleyan, 4-for-18 at Wisconsin-Parkside and 1-for-13 at Lewis. When all you can hit are shots from inside the arc, opponents are going to pack their defenses around the basket and make life much, much more difficult for the likes of Anna Hackert, Mary O’Keefe, Cayla Herbst and Nicole Hazemi. And the player who appears to be having the most trouble shooting from downtown is junior Stephanie Carpenter. Over her last four games she’s hit just four of 25 3-point attempts, an average of 16 percent. She only shot three against Lewis (and missed all of them), equaling her 2012-13 season low for fewest 3-point shots in a game. For the season Carpenter is still averaging 36 percent. But she hasn’t sunk more than two in a game since she buried a season-high five against Saint Joseph’s. By the way, she’s shooting just 26.8 percent overall (11-for-41) from the field over her last four games.
Still not USI. But she’s a player that gave USI plenty of trouble in their first loss of the season. It’s Quincy’s Lucy Cramsey. After scoring 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in a 65-58 win over Kentucky Wesleyan last Thursday, she scored 13 points and pulled down 15 rebounds — her fourth double-double of the season — in the 65-62 victory over USI on Saturday.