Region Roundball Review

May, 1999
News & Updates


Welcome to the news area of the Region Roundball Review. This page will be updated as information becomes available. Please note that not all links shown here will stay active indefinitely. Many links are to daily on-line publications that change or remove links from their sites on a daily basis. For your convenience, you can use the calendar at the right to access news for a particular day.

If you have any news about girls basketball in the Region or around the State, please e-mail us with your information and we will include it here. Thanks. 

May, 1999
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News thru Friday, May 28

The Kokomo Tribune is reporting that Jennifer Grimes (5'9 G) of 3A Western, will be playing both basketball and volleyball at Division III Franklin College next school year. Grimes, an All-County player in both sports, averaged 11.0 points per game for the Western Panthers and led her team in rebounds and steals during the 1998-99 season.

Tri-West High School senior Teah Sonicksen (6'1 F) has signed to play women's basketball at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania. Sonicksen finished her career as the Lady Bruins' all-time leading rebounder with 238. She averaged 12.9 ppg, 9.5 rpg and shot 64% from the floor in leading her team to a 21-4 mark, as well as conference and a 2A regional championships. Sonicksen is expected to give Mercyhurst some tremendous help with her inside shooting touch, rebounding and defensive shot-blocking capabilities.
LaPorte will be losing a good portion of its team's brain trust to graduation this year. LaPorte senior players Sarah Mendelowitz, Sasha Miller, and Lisa Tegt were all named co-valedictorians for LaPorte High School. Mendelowitz plans to continue her education at MIT majoring in chemical engineering, Miller plans to attend Vanderbilt to study biology, and Tegt will be attending Miami Univeristy of Ohio to study business. (Congratulations, girls!) The LaPorte coaching positions, which were vacated by the resignations of head coach Mark Wilson and assistants John Dearing and Janie Ulmer, have not yet been filled. Reportedly, there have been some quality candidates, but LaPorte currently has no open teaching positions at the high school. An announcement of the new head coach, however, may be made within the coming weeks.
In other LaPorte area news, Bridget DeCordial was named Player of the Year by the Herald-Argus in its first ever All-Area Team selections. The senior guard averaged 16.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 4.0 steals for the season. "I challenged her this year to play like a senior, and she has," former LaPorte coach Mark Wilson said. "She's definietely our leader on the floor, our go-to-girl. She's the kind of girl who can create her own shots." The 1998-99 Herald-Argus also named All-Area teams as follows:

First Team - Bridget DeCordial (LaPorte, 5'4 Sr.), Janice Belzowski (New Prairie, 5'11 Sr.), Jessica Bunton (New Prairie, 5'9 Jr.), Chastity Zellers (John Glenn, 5'5 So.), Jennifer Traub (John Glenn, 5'10 Sr.)

Second Team - Lara Clarkson (Laporte), Crista Bulger (Westville), Jessica Yagelski (Michigan City), Mary Kate Hattenberger (M.C. Marquette), Beth Honaker (John Glenn)

Honorable Mention - Ryan Dunleavy (M.C. Marquette), Tara Kensinger (South Central), Hannah Herrold (South Central), and Alaina Neff (LaPorte).

If you haven't checked already, the AAU regional and state draws are now available at the Indiana AAU website for downloading and printing. The AAU regionals are slated for June 6 for 16U, 17U and 18U, while the 14U and 15U regionals are to take place on June 11-13, all at various locations around the state.
A good number of Indiana high school players will be playing in the popular and competitive Memorial Invitational Tournament (MIT) at the Michigan State University campus in Lansing, Michigan, over the Memorial Day weekend. We will be there and hope to bring you some highlights and photos from that tournament. Last year nearly 200 teams competed in the MIT, featuring some of the top players in the nation. If your AAU team is headed to Michigan and you'd like a bit of information about some of your opponents, you can view last year's tournament MIT results to get a handle on the competition and key players.
With the decision to move to class basketball, a number of urban high schools are feeling the class-crunch, with few tournament assignments now being made to large-gym, urban schools. The Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette
(one-day link) is reporting that the Indiana Urban Schools Association (IUSA), a coalition of athletic directors and superintendents from mostly large, inner-city schools, is seeking some answers from the IHSAA as to the representation of urban school districts on the IHSAA Board of Directors. They are asking for new lines to be drawn to increase the likelihood of equal representation from those districts. This move grows out of the continuing argument about class sports and its effects on attendance, revenue and team traveling issues. The IUSA claims that the one-school, one-vote philosophy is contrary to democratic principles and unfair to the greater number of IHSAA athletes in the state. The IUSA cites as an example the 1996-97 school year class basketball vote where 219 schools voted in favor of class basketball, representing 89,856 students, while the 156 schools which voted against class represented 146,207 students.
New Ball State assistant coach Tracy Roller (formerly of Valpo U.) gives an interesting and insightful interview in the Post-Tribune regarding her upcoming challenge to bring Ball State's womens program out of the depths of the college ranks into the upper echelon of the better Division I college programs in Indiana and the nation. Roller, a former Indiana All-Star and Crown Point standout in the mid-80s, is known for her in-state recruiting abilities which nabbed Valparaiso some top Indiana players in the past few years, including Valparaiso's Jeanette Gray. Ball State is looking to tap those recruiting talents to attract in-state high school stars to help the ailing Lady Cardinal program in the future. They will get some immediate help from 1999 standout recruits Amy Zercher (NorthWood) and Laurie Kitts (Eastbrook), who have both signed with Ball State for next season.
Three Indiana college players have been selected to play on the 1999 USA Women's World University Games Team. Katie Douglas (Perry Meridian) and Camille Cooper of Purdue, and Ruth Riley (North Miami) of Notre Dame will be traveling with the team to Spain to compete against teams from around the world. The World University Games, open to athletes ages 17-28, are July 1-13 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. You can get the complete story, list of team members and player profiles at the USA Basketball website, as well as a recap of the trials, which includes photos and information about some of the other Indiana players who were invited to tryout, but were not selected for the team.
Former Purdue assistant coach Seth Kushkin has been picked up by the Ohio State womens basketball program in its efforts to meet the goal of becoming a Big Ten and national contender. Kushkin, a highly regarded and well-liked assistant while at Purdue, will take on the primary responsibilities of coaching, recruiting and scouting. Kushkin was key to Purdue's breakdown of opponents' offenses, and helped the Lady Boilermakers develop their trademark defense that helped them win a national championship.

News thru Monday, May 24

Meredith Miles, a 6'0 senior frontliner from 3A Indianapolis Brebeuf Jesuit will be playing at DePauw in Greencastle next season. Miles averaged 16 points per game for Brebeuf during her senior season. She will be joining three other senior DePauw recruits -- Heather Wiles (5'10 F) of Tri-West, Tiffany Miller (6'1 C) of Triton Central, and Dana Ferguson (6'0 F/C) of Mooresville.

Complete signings and commitments for the Classes of 1999 and 2000 can be found on our Player Status Report page. So far we have listed 86 Indiana high school seniors who will be playing college ball next season and three juniors who have made early verbal commitments. If you know of someone we have left off our listings, please drop us an e-mail and we'll add them to our list. The Player Status Report of signings and commitments is now permanently accessible from our home page navigation bar.
Kathie (Wise) Layden, a former standout at Taylor High School and Evansville University, was recently hired as the new girls basketball coach at Tri-Central. The Kokomo Tribune reports that Layden, who served as an assistant coach at Tri this past season, will see a familiar face on the bench. Dave Wise, Layden's father, will assist with basketball coaching duties next winter. Layden will have a busy school year in 1999-2000, since she was appointed as the new volleyball coach at Tri-Central as well.
Fast Break, a national on-line women's basketball information and rating service covering high school, college and WNBA basketball, recently released updated Top Prospects for the Classes of 2001 and 2002 (current sophomores and freshman) on its Fast Break Recruiting Central page. Indiana players listed (in alphabetical order) include sophomores Christine Cox (6'2 F) of Carroll Flora, Jenny DeMuth (5'10 F) of Highland, Shyra Ely (6'1 F) of Ben Davis, Erica Martin (5'11 F) of Kouts, and Sarah Zondor (5'6 G) of Crown Point. Freshmen listed include Cindi Merrill (5'9 G) of Noblesville, Alex Webster (5'9 G) of Crown Point and Shanna Zolman (5'9 G) of Wawasee.
Stephanie White-McCarty is enjoying the opportunity to be just one mug in a sea of faces in Charlotte while practicing with her new team, the WNBA Charlotte Sting. After months of publicity and high-profile popularity in Indiana, White-McCarty is a near unknown in Charlotte, something she and husband Brent are enjoying quite a bit. You can read about White-McCarty's initial WNBA experiences in the Charlotte Observer.

News thru Friday, May 21

According the Black & Gold, Indianapolis Broad Ripple standout Shalicia Hurns (6'4 G/F) is receiving a good deal of attention from a number of Division I programs around the Midwest. The towering junior averaged 13.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.9 steals per game this past season and, despite her size, plays about every position on the floor but center. Hurns will be playing with The Family 17U AAU team this summer, where her high school coach hopes she will improve on her post moves and free throw shooting accuracy.

From Fifth Quarter correspondent Randy Beckett:

The Indianapolis Star reported this week that Leah Wooldrige was named the new girls basketball coach at Noblesville. Leah played for Anderson Highland, and coached Anderson to the state finals in 1994. Leah also was an assistant at Ball State and most recently Detroit Mercy. Wooldrige replaces former Noblesville coach Rich Bagienski. Wooldrige inherits a team that will return all five starters from its sectional lineup, which includes All-OAC 1st teamer freshman Cindi Merrill. Also back is 6'0 center Marianne Nethery, 5'7 sophomore Leigh Marcum, point guard Tria Yoder and late season starter Laura Seifert. If the Millers can find some depth on the bench next fall, they should be considered serious contenders for a run to the Southport Semi-State.

The mad rush to make it under the wire of the signing period deadline produced a number of last-minute signings, as reported in the Indianapolis Star, Shelbyville News and Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette as follows:

Beech Grove senior Amy Gearlds will play at Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne.

Westfield's Emily Hammes will play at Indianapolis.

Mooresville's Dana Ferguson and Triton Central's Tiffany Miller will play at DePauw. Miller will be a two-sport athlete at DePauw and compete on the Tigers’ women’s basketball and track and field teams. Miller said she chose DePauw over Ohio schools, Marietta College, Ashland University, and the University of Indianapolis. “I didn’t pick DePauw to play basketball; I chose the school where I would get the best education,” Miller said. Miller plans on entering DePauw’s sports medicine program and would like to become a physical therapist. The DePauw women’s basketball team was 22-5 last year, winning the SCAC conference title and advancing to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III tournament.

Six in-state seniors will attend Franklin College: Tiffany Ellis (5'10) of Eastern Hancock, Kelly Gates (5'10) of Triton Central, Morgan Koors (5'7) of Rushville, Jamie Sturgell (5'8) of North Judson, Sayra Hoskins (6'0) of Madison and Abby Carrigan (5'9) of Rising Sun. Gates chose Franklin over the University of Indianapolis in part because of her major. She wants to be a pharmacist and will be entering a co-operative program between Franklin College and Purdue University. “I’ll go to Franklin for three years and then to Purdue for two to get my degree,” Gates said. “I don’t want basketball to be my life in college. I’m going to college to start my career.” The Grizzlies’ are a NCAA Division III team in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. The team was 17-11 last year and lost in the conference finals.

Goshen has signed Anna Smith of DeKalb and Alana Warlick of Northridge.

Laura Hebel of Ft. Wayne Concordia has enrolled at the University of Chicago and will play basketball for the Maroons next season. The 5'8 guard/forward averaged 15.7 points and 4.7 rebounds as a senior.

News thru Wednesday, May 19

The first game of the Indiana All Stars is set for one month from today on June 19 at Market Square Arena, but before that first game is played, the All Stars will have to put in some practice time to get things clicking. A series of those practice sessions will take place in Northwest Indiana when the All Stars, coached by Valparaiso's Greg Kirby and featuring Valpo standout Jeanette Gray, will convene at Valparaiso High School on June 8, 9 and 10. The opening practice is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday the 8th and the last practice will end on Friday the 10th at 11:30 a.m. We do not know at this time if practice sessions and games will be open to the public, but we will pass that information on to you as soon as we confirm it.

At least two high school level AAU tournaments took place over the weekend, including the Indiana's Finest Invitational at Plainfield and the Indy South Stars Shootout at Perry Meridian Middle School.

A complete recap of the Plainfield event was submitted by tournament director, Pat McKee, and gives scoring for some top NWI high school players, including Susan Hay of Munster, Tracie Mezera of River Forest, Melanie Brumbaugh of Hanover Central, Kelly Schoon of Lowell, and Kafayat Davies of Gary West Side, all with the Northern Indiana Magic AAU 16U team. That team finished 11th in a strong bracket field, which included premier AAU teams from Illinois and Ohio. Indiana's Finest Class 17U took the championship in that division with a win over the Indiana's Finest 17U team by a score of 75-69. The Michigan Belles won the pool division with a close 46-45 win over the Chicago Silver Stars.

At Perry Meridian both 15U and 16U teams competed in two separate divisions. NWI players competing in the 15U division included Christy Poparad of Chesterton, Michelle Jones of West Side and Kim Sliwa of Boone Grove with the 15U Lady Lakers. In the 16U division, the 16U Lady Lakers featured Tracy Jackson of East Chicago and Karen Puplava of Valparaiso. Both Lady Lakers teams were missing a number of players due to spring sports and did not advance out of pool play. The champion of the 15U division was Magic City Express from Muncie who defeated P.A.L. by a large margin. The 15U Hoosier Hotshots, featuring Crown Point players Alex Webster and Amanda Bernard, were playing up in the 16U division, where they eventually won the championship game over 16U Southern Indiana Blues of Vincennes by a score of 50-46. You can visit the website of the Hoosier Hotshots at

More information about the revised IHSAA physical examination requirements is appearing in the Lafayette Journal & Courier. A new form for athletic physical examinations is now available to athletic directors from the IHSAA and puts a greater emphasis on examination of the heart. This emphasis came about after the death of Lawrence North's John Stewart, a basketball player who collapsed during a sectional game and eventually died due to an undetected heart problem. Athletes should contact their school's athletic office for the revised physical forms.
A series of articles regarding the college recruiting process for high school athletes is appearing in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. Although the articles are not specifically targeted at just girls basketball, the information provided there is valuable for any athlete going through the process or anticipating a college basketball career. A good read for players and parents.
According to Pat McKee of the Indianapolis Star, women's athletics at Purdue have hit the big time with the release of a set of Purdue trading cards featuring a number of female athletes in a variety of sports. Women's basketball has the greatest share of the cards, and besides the obvious inclusion of National Champion team members Stephanie White-McCarty and Ukari Figgs, the set also features 10 former players, including Jennifer Jacoby, MaChelle Joseph, Stacey Lovelace, Jannon Roland and other past Purdue greats. The card sets can be purchased for $17.95 from American Marketing Associates at (888) 919-6900.
Purdue Calumet in Hammond recently named award winners from its women's basketball team, including a number of former NWI high school players as follows: MVP, Rita Harper (West Side); Most Improved, Renee Boryla (Lake Central); Best Mental Attitude, Amanda Stutler (River Forest); and Newcomer of the Year, Brea Gates (West Side). Harper, Kelly Rich (Portage), Emily Schwoegler (Chesterton) and Nicole Kolodziej (North Newton) also received recognition for academic excellence with Chancellor's Awards.
DePauw standout Susan Bender (Roncalli) was recently awarded one of 16 Post-Graduate scholarships in the amount of $5,000 made to 16 women's basketball student-athletes. To qualify for an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, a student-athlete must have an overall grade-point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or its equivalent and must have performed with distinction as a member of the varsity team in the sport in which the student-athlete was nominated. Student-athletes also must intend to continue academic work beyond the baccalaureate degree as a full-time graduate student, and must have behaved, both on and off the field, in a manner that has brought credit to the student-athlete, the institution and intercollegiate athletics. Bender, a history major, set the school standard for assists (347) and games started (102) and also ranks second in school history in steals, free throws made and games played. Bender, who plans to attend law school, was a team captain for three seasons (1997-99) and three-time Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference first-team selection (1997-99).
Next year's college Final Four predictions are already the fodder for discussion in USA Today and Sporting News. Thought we'd pass these articles on to you during this slow, slow basketball news period.

News thru Saturday, May 15

The NCAA late signing period ends today, and the following seniors are under the wire with the following recent announcements:

Highland senior Angie Zemen (5'10 G) will be playing college basketball at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Zemen was a 12 varsity letter-winner in three sports (basketball, cross-country, track) and was recently named Lake Athletic All-Conference. Zemen was a key player in Highland's advancement to the 4A North Semi-State in Warsaw this past season.

Another Lake Athletic Conference standout, Meghann Sullivan (6'0 C) of Andrean, will be playing at Washington University in St. Louis her freshman year in college. Sullivan helped the '59ers advance to the 3A Semi-State and was named to The Times All-Area First Team and Post-Tribune All-Area Second Team. Visit the website of the Washington Bears, a back-to-back NCAA National Champion in Division III, to get more information about WU's first-ever undefeated season. They will only lose two seniors to graduation, a 6'2 center and 5'11 forward.
The Kokomo Tribune is reporting that Tri-Central senior standout Shanie Smith, is headed to NCAA Division II Indiana-Purdue Ft. Wayne on a full scholarship. Smith, who had a Tipton County record career total of 1,477 points after her four years of high school basketball, will be working the point guard position for the IPFW Dons, who were 2-24 during the recently completed season.
We rarely get a glimpse of the Region girls we know from the hardcourt without a basketball in hand, but at the recent Duneland Conference track meet in Portage, we spotted Colorado State-bound Jackie Campbell doing some shooting -- not long-distance threes, but photos of the Chesterton track team. It's great to see a different side of those familiar basketball faces out and about pursuing interests away from the gym...
As you may have guessed, the news of the high school hardcourt is thin at best during the waning months of the school year (which accounts for our infrequent news posts). Although AAU basketball is in full swing, with most players working that delicate balance between spring sports and weekend AAU games, the high intensity of the AAU regional and state tournaments will not be taking place until June. However, there are a number of very good tournaments taking place on a weekly basis, and we encourage anyone who would like to give updates on high school level AAU teams and players to post their news on our Reporting & Discussion Forum. Results from the recent Indiana's Finest Tournament held in Plainfield last weekend are posted there, and we will be reporting on some of the results of the Michigan Invitational Tournament (MIT) in Lansing taking place over the Memorial Day weekend. Also, check our Message Boards link to the left, where we have now linked the Reporting & Discussion Forum, as well as the new Indiana AAU message board.
The Shelbyville News is reporting that Waldron coach Larry Skinner will be stepping down from his head varsity position after two years. The Mohawks were 24-18 during his term and appeared twice in the sectional championship finals.
Several Indiana college players have been invited to the trials for the 1999 USA Basketball University Team. Katie Douglas (Perry Meridian) and Camille Cooper of Purdue, and Sheila McMillen (Rochester) and Ruth Riley (North Miami) of Notre Dame, have all been notified they will spend May 19-24 in Colorado Springs making a bid for a spot on the 1999 team. Douglas and Riley were members of last year's team, and are strong candidates to repeat. You can see the complete list of invitees at the USA Basketball website, and local news stories appear in the Peru Tribune about Ruth Riley, and at the official Purdue women's basketball website about Douglas and Cooper. The 1999 World University Games will be held July 1-13 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

News thru Saturday, May 8

According to The Times and the New Castle Courier-Times, 2A North Newton has been selected to play this December in the 1999 Hall of Fame Classic, the premier invitational tournament in Indiana. North Newton (Kristi Koselke, Becky Schuster) will face 3A Franklin, featuring 2000 Miss Basketball candidate Anna Waugh, while 3A Mt. Vernon (Johna Goff) will face 1A Rising Sun (twin sisters Jessica Brock and Jennifer Brock). The format, location and date of the HOF is uncertain at this time. The event, which has taken place in the enormous New Castle Fieldhouse for the past 9 years, may be moving for one year only to the new Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, the new home of the Indiana Pacers still under construction. The move to the Conseco facility would be to give the HOF a continuing place in history by playing in that facility during its opening season. The last Region girls team to appear in the HOF was Lake Central in 1994.

Senior Trojan Melissa Austin (6'0 C), a member of 1999 Regional Champ Highland, has verbally committed to play basketball at Division III Ripon College in Wisconsin next season. Austin will be attending the college of movie star Harrison Ford.

Manchester standout Megan Eckert (5'8 G) has signed a letter of intent to attend the University of St. Francis in Ft. Wayne. Eckert, named the MVP of the recent Nancy Rehm/Border Wars Classic, averaged 23.6 points during the 1998-99 season and was TRC All-Conference 4 years running. Eckert will be joining Whitko senior BrieAnn Starkweather, who just last week signed with St. Francis as well. Both should be an asset to the St. Francis program, which made an appearance in this year's NAIA Final Four.

Lew Wallace grad and former Iowa standout Angela Hamblin (5'10 G) has had her contract waived by the WNBA Detroit Shock. Hamblin was with the Shock for just one season and averaged 1.0 points and just under 5 minutes of play per game.
News thru Wednesday, May 5

Along with the 13-5 vote which affirmed the current four-class tournament format, the Executive Committee of the IHSAA has approved a new three-week tournament format for girls basketball for the 1999-2000 season. The format and dates of the tournament will be as follows:

In further news regarding the recent IHSAA vote, there are sentiments by some IHSAA Executive Committee members that we may see some changes from the four-class format within the coming years, including the possibility of a two-class format which would reignite some old geographic rivalries and cut down on traveling time and costs for a number of smaller schools. You can read about this opinion by Executive Committee member Cassel White (Hammond) in the Post-Tribune (one-day link).

The late signing period will be ending on May 15, and two more Indiana seniors have inked commitments to college programs. Jennifer Turner (5'5 guard) of Terre Haute North officially signed her letter of intent to the University of Charleston in West Virginia on Friday, April 30th. Averaging 22 ppg during the 1998-99 season, Turner finished her career at Terre Haute North as the holder of many records including the career school and county scoring record of 1607 points. Turner posted a game high 41 points against North Central (Farmersburg) in November.

BrieAnn Starkweather (5'11 forward) of Whitko High School has signed to play next year for NAIA National Runner-Up University of St. Francis in Ft. Wayne. Starkweather averaged 18 points and 9 rebounds per game during the 1998-99 season for the Lady Wildcats (10-11). She also played recently in the Nancy Relm All Star game in Ft. Wayne against an Ohio all star team, where she had 8 points and 3 rebounds.

It is being reported in the Goshen News that 26-year-old Tim Hebert has been named as the new head coach of girls basketball at Northridge High School. Hebert has served as the Northridge girls varsity assistant the last three years and is succeeding former head coach Craig Jackson, who recently resigned for family and business reasons.
Pat McKee of the Indianapolis Star is reporting that Purdue's Stephanie White-McCarty has been chosen by Charlotte Sting in the second round of yesterday's WNBA draft. White-McCarty will team with Sting player Christy Smith, a former Indiana high school standout from Benton Central, and Dawn Staley, formerly of the Phildelphia Rage, who was selected by Charlotte in the first round. Purdue's Ukari Figgs was drafted by the Los Angeles Sparks in the third round.

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