Next up for the undefeated University of Southern Indiana women’s basketball team is the defending Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament champion.
That’s Maryville University (5-5, 1-1 GLVC), which the Screaming Eagles (9-0, 1-0) host today at 1 p.m. at the Physical Activities Center.
The Saints returned 11 players from last year’s squad. But the key player seems to be senior Abby Duethman, who was named GLVC Player of the Week on Dec. 17.
“She’s a solid (5-foot-11) player who can step out and hit the 3 and is not afraid to do it,” said USI coach Rick Stein. “They also have a point guard, Shelby Miller, who was Freshman of the Year (in the GLVC) last year.”
Duethman averages 16.8 points and 50 percent from the field, but is shooting just 31.8 percent (14-for-44) from 3-point range. Meanwhile, Miller is averaging 8.8 points and 2.4 assists and shooting 32.7 percent (16-for-49) from beyond the arc. Brittnye McSparron, a 5-6 senior, averages 12.2 points.
On defense, the Saints play physically, according to Stein. “They’re a strong man-to-man team that has shown some doubling down in the post,” he said.
That’s likely against USI with its pair of forwards in 6-1 Anna Hackert (12.9 points, 8.3 rebounds) and 6-foot Mary O’Keefe (10.0 points, 4.2 rebounds).
Then again, Maryville may come out with a different look entirely.
“In league play there’s so much scouting done that every game can be different,” said Stein. “They could come in here with a different (defense). The biggest key for us is how we defend them.”
Defense helped USI to its 73-65 victory over Missouri-St. Louis in Thursday night’s GLVC opener for the Eagles. USI held the Tritons to 38.7 percent shooting and is holding all opponents to just 33.6 percent for the season — which ranks second in the conference.
The Eagles have four players scoring in double figures: Hackert, junior shooting guard Stephanie Carpenter (12.3), O’Keefe and junior point guard Ariel Barnes (10.0).