Expect the USI women’s basketball team to play a home game in the first round of the GLVC Tournament, probably on Sunday. If the Eagles win, they’ll advance to the quarterfinals, which will start Thursday at the Ford Center. And USI has a good shot at winning no matter which team it hosts.
At this point, Drury most likely will be the No. 1 seed and Lewis No. 2. Quincy probably will be No. 3 and either Indianapolis or Missouri-St. Louis will probably be the No. 4 seed. I think the Eagles are going to end up No. 6, which means they will probably host a team not only with a losing record but a team they have already defeated, maybe William Jewell or Missouri-S&T.
If USI beats visiting Bellarmine on Thursday night, the Eagles will enter the tournament on a four-game winning streak. That would tie its longest winning streak of the season (it started the season with four straight victories, but all were easy double-digit wins).
The key, I think, has been the much improved play of senior guard Stephanie Carpenter, who has averaged 17.8 points per game — and 51.2 percent (20-for-39) from 3-point range — over her last five games. The only concern came during USI’s last game, when she scored just eight points, going 1-for-5 from 3-point range. For the Eagles to advance far into the GLVC tourney — never mind the NCAA Tournament — they need Carpenter hitting shots from long range. It negates a lot of the double- and triple-teaming on the GLVC’s leading scorer, Anna Hackert. Besides, it’s how USI is designed to play the game, inside-out.