The Indiana State women’s basketball team will play in the first round of the 2020 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament against the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers tonight at 5 p.m. This is a rare year for ISU because the Sycamores will be bringing a full team of players who have never played in the MVC tournament.
Knowing that this is the first MVC tournament for the entire ISU team, there could be some nerves coming into a high excitement arena like the one in Moline, Illinois. But head women’s basketball coach Vicki Hall isn’t worried for her players.
“Everything we have done this season have been firsts. I don’t think (the MVC tournament) is going to faze the team,” Hall said. “Every first; first college game, first conference game. I think we have gotten over the jitters of the firsts stuff.”
The young ISU basketball team comes into the tournament with a 5-25 record this season with three of those wins coming from conference wins. Through the season Hall believes that the team has grown to be a cohesive unit despite having less time together.
“We are executing our offense much better and on defense, we are now understanding our roles better,” Hall said. “Everything is starting to come together.”
ISU has played Loyola twice this season, losing both times. Each game was relatively close, with a 10 and eight-point differentiation. With the Ramblers being the first team to play ISU, the Sycamores have the best chance to break their six-year drought of not winning an MVC tournament game.
“We would love to break that dry spell, so that is our main goal moving forward,” Hall said.
Hall is confident that her team is not going to have any issue dealing with the player's first MVC tournament. With a freshman like guard Del’Janae Williams, who was placed on the MVC All-Freshmen team and team leader junior transfer Jamyra McChristine, ISU has solid leadership coming into tonight’s game.
Junior Marie Hunter was the top score for ISU in the last matchup between the Sycamores and Ramblers with 12 points. Hunter will need to step up again in this matchup as the second leading scorer on the team behind McChristine. ISU will also need help from players like junior Cece Mayo, who had 15 in the first game between the two teams. Consistency will decide the outcome of ISU’s first game.
If ISU can win the first game, they will have to play the No. 1 team in the conference, Missouri State. ISU will have to win four straight games in order to play in the NCAA tournament.