The Great Lakes Valley Conference has resumed league play, with the University of Indianapolis off to outstanding start to the season. Other Indiana teams and squads with Hoosier natives have had varying degrees of success and find themselves chasing the Greyhounds early on.
With the bulk of their roster back, Indianapolis was looking for improvement this season, but the results to date have exceeded all expectations. A perfect 10-0 mark includes a quick 3-0 GLVC start that has LeeAnn Freeland's team as one of just three teams without a blemish in conference action. They have an opportunity to trim that number by one as they travel to GLVC East co-leader Lewis University on Saturday. Indy's most impressive wins have been their last two; a 72-60 victory over then-24th ranked Florida Tech, and a 78-55 demolishing of Wisconsin-Parkside, who had been 6-0 at home going into the game.
Karla Mast is pacing the Greyhounds with a 20.0 point scoring average, while Jessica Canary (12.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Samantha Meissel (10.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg) have started strong. Meissel, a Terre Haute North product, has established herself as an early favorite for GLVC Freshman of the Year. Point guard Katie Dewey of Franklin Central ranks in the top five in the league in assists, steals, and 3-point percentage. Stunningly, Indianapolis is not only absent from the D2 top 25 rankings, but the Greyhounds received zero votes in the most recent poll.
Southern Indiana came out of the gates with three consecutive wins, including a commanding 92-65 win against a solid Central Missouri outfit, but has found themselves alternating wins and losses in the month since then. A road victory against Missouri-St. Louis Thursday night could signal a step in the right direction for an Eagles team that is getting a huge contribution from Jeffersonville's Jasmine Baines. The slender wing is posting averages of 19.6 points and 6.1 rebounds in her final campaign. Four other players are averaging between 9.7 and 8.6 points for a balanced USI squad.
St. Joseph's was picked to finish at the bottom of the GLVC East and matters were complicated further by the absence of the team's top two returning scorers. A grueling early season slate of games that includes two teams that went to the NCAA Tournament last year and six out of nine contests away from home. The Pumas are currently 1-8 on the year, with a 59-54 triumph against Purdue-Calumet the highlight so far. Michelle Kiger leads the way with a 12.4 average as St. Joe looks to get back in the win column against Wisconsin-Parkside this weekend.
Quincy (IL) is the surprise early leader in the GLVC West, with Clinton Prairie's Janette Burgin scoring at a 10.6 clip. The Hawks are 2-0 in league play and 7-3 overall. Southern Illinois-Edwardsville is riding a four game winning streak to stand 8-2, with Jeffersonville native Amy Austin perfect from the free line on the season and topping the Cougars in assists. Missouri-St. Louis is a game ahead of where they were record-wise from a year ago, including a stunning win against region power Grand Valley State. Leslie Ricker from North Posey starts and leads the team in field goal percentage. In the East, Kentucky Wesleyan is off to a strong 7-3 start after having split their first two conference games. Laura McClintic (Tell City) is contributing 10.9 ppg and should top the 1000 point career mark within the next week, while Ashley Pait (Jeffersonville) leads the Panthers in assists. Meanwhile, league preseason favorite Bellarmine has struggled with their consistency, beating three preseason top 20 teams--including current #3 Drury Thursday night--but standing just 9-5 overall. Floyd Central's Angela Smith is the reigning GLVC Player of the Week and leads the way with 15.6 ppg, while Dana Beaven (Corydon) is currently on a streak of three straight double-doubles during the team's recent turnaround.
Next week's conference slate will be highlighted by two Indianapolis home games, hosting 15th ranked Northern Kentucky on Thursday before a showdown Saturday evening with Bellarmine in a game that will feature seventeen Indiana natives between them.
In recruiting news, a trio of southern Indiana high school seniors have signed with GLVC schools. Forest Park forward Randi Uebelhor and Northeast Dubois wing Allison Matheis were among four early signees for Bellarmine, while Madison wing Sadie Bowling will make the hour drive up the road to join Nancy Winstel's Northern Kentucky program. They join Caroline Schutzman of Chatard, who previously signed with Indianapolis, as the only in-state players to have reportedly signed early with Division 2 schools.
Photo courtesy of University of Indianapolis sports information