Region Roundball Review

August, 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. 

August, 1999
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News thru Sunday, August 29

The LaPorte School Board recently disregarded the recommendation of a search committee by hiring an established teacher from within the LaPorte system as their new head girls varsity coach.  Articles in the Michigan City News-Dispatch and South Bend Tribune report that Greg Samuelson, a former JV coach in 1993 and 1994, was hired over the recommendation committee's selection of Rodger Kirkpatrick, who was an assistant girls varsity coach at Penn last year.  The decision has been a bitter pill to swallow for the LaPorte administration, as well as for some players and their parents, who were unhappy with the decision.  An  editorial by the LaPorte Herald-Argus outlines the issues of the Board's decision.  Now that the decision has been made, however, hopefully both players and parents will give their new coach an opportunity to prove himself, or it could be a long season for the Lady Slicers.

Like other basketball players around the state, Marion 5'11 junior forward Kristin Marcuccilli is a multi-sport athlete playing a fall sport before the upcoming basketball season.  What makes Marcuccilli's situation unique is that she is playing goal kicker for her high school football team.  According to the Indianapolis Star, the former soccer player and academic No. 1 Marion junior decided to help out her school's football team this fall, which has been struggling to find a consistent kicker since as long ago as last season.  Had she not been planning to have shoulder surgery early last fall before the basketball season, Marcuccilli would have joined the football team last year. Marcuccilli's Marion Lady Giants basketball team finished out the 1998-99 basketball season with a 51-39 loss to Huntington North in the sectional championship final. 
The abilities of Broad Ripple's Shalicia Hurns are discussed in a recent Black & Gold article about Purdue's recruiting efforts with regard to the Class of 2000.  Hurns, a 6'2 guard/forward, is on the Lady Boilermakers' short list of desired recruits, along with six other uncommitted players from around the nation.  A recruiting analyst from the Women's Basketball News Service gives his take on Hurns, as well as the other five recruits and the two players who have already committed to Purdue.  Hurns and two of the other listed recruits are expected to make an official visit to Purdue on October 15, Mackey Magic Night, the first official women's basketball practice for the 1999-2000 season.
According to the Connersville News-Examiner, April McDivitt spent her last two weeks before leaving for college practicing at the gym in preparation for her new playing assignment with national power Tennessee.  McDivitt will join the thousands of other freshmen students around the country moving onto campus for the first time this fall.  She will be rooming with fellow freshman University of Tennessee basketball recruit Kara Lawson.  Both will be expected to make immediate contributions for the Lady Vols when the season begins.  The highly anticipated McDivitt-Kennitra Johnson clash will be a double-take this upcoming college season, as Tennessee and Connecticut are scheduled to play each other twice in 2000 -- once on January 8 in Tennessee, and again on February 2 in Connecticut.  According to Tennessee Coach Pat Summit, "When you look at national match-ups, I don't think there's one that has more interest than Tennessee and Connecticut.  Playing twice is great for our programs and great for the women's game."
As reported by Pat McKee of the Indianapolis Star, former Southport standout Kelli Ely (5'8 G) has transferred from the University of Central Florida to IUPUI.  Ely will have two years of basketball eligibility remaining beginning in the fall of 2000, after sitting out the upcoming season as required by NCAA transfer rules.  Ely started 29 of 30 games for the Knights in 1998-99, and averaged 8.0 points per game while logging the second highest total of minutes played on the roster.  Although a reason for the transfer was not given, there was a change in head coaches at UCF over the summer.  You can view Ely's profile page on the UCF women's basketball website.  Ely will be leaving behind Indiana native UCF teammate Leslie Deaton of Martinsville, who played for the 20-10 Knights as a freshman last season.
According to the Lafayette Journal & Courier, Purdue's 1999-2000 Lady Boilermakers team will be honoring the memory of their recently deceased teammate, Tiffany Young, by wearing patches on their uniform shorts and shooting shirts embroidered with the letters "TY", and also by leaving an open chair on the bench and in the locker room throughout the upcoming season.  The decision to honor Young in the manner chosen was a joint one by the Lady Boilermaker coaching staff and players. 
Just five short months ago, Stephanie McCarty and Ukari Figgs were united in their efforts to win the NCAA championship trophy for Purdue. Ironically, the two may be facing each other from opposite sides of the court to compete for another major national championship early next month if both the Charlotte Sting and the Los Angeles Sparks win their conference finals to move on to the WNBA championship series. Right now, both clubs are in a good position to advance, with initial wins in a 3-game series over their conference final opponents. The other interesting aspect is that either McCarty or Figgs could end up accomplishing a feat that maybe no other basketball player has ever achieved -- two major national championships in a single year. Neither player has been seeing much court time lately, however, and how much either may contribute to the outcome is questionable. Right now, McCarty is on the injured list (although we've not been able to find any info on the nature of that injury) and Figgs lost her spot in the starting lineup and player rotation when she suffered a severe sprain. Her replacement, Gordana Grubin, brought some good chemistry to the floor that the Sparks coaching staff is unwilling to tinker with this late in the season.
  You can view the player profiles for McCarty and Figgs on their respective WNBA team websites. Of interest is the apparent "shrinking" of McCarty, who is now listed at 5'9 after standing 5'11 at Purdue for four years. Also at the WNBA playoffs website, Figgs is answering e-mail questions from fans around the country.  When asked about the possibility of playing for the new Indy franchise, Figgs replied, "I loved playing in Indiana -- the fans were so great to me. I'd love to play in front of those people again, but I'm not in control over my destiny, so we'll see what happens." Stay tuned.
Speaking of the new Indy franchise, Indianapolis announced Friday that it is only 1,000 season tickets short of meeting a league mandate. The women's basketball league is requiring that each of the newly named franchises must have deposits for 5,500 season tickets by Oct. 15. The teams are scheduled to begin play next year when the league begins its fourth season. The franchise, which is still unnamed, also announced that single game ticket prices will range from $5 to $85, with the average ticket price at about $13. You can get complete details about the latest Indy franchise news in the Indianapolis Star.

News thru Sunday, August 22

          According to the South Bend Tribune, the decision on a new basketball coach for the Lady Slicers in LaPorte was put off for at least two weeks when the school board surprisingly went against the recommendation of a search committee to hire former Penn varsity assistant Rodger Kirkpatrick, who was hired (regardless of the coaching decision) as a physical education teacher by the LaPorte school board. The board questioned whether or not the coaching opportunity should be given to another teacher already within the LaPorte system, who has coached basketball, but only as high as the 8th grade level. According to the superintendent, this is the first time in her 10 years at LaPorte that a committee recommendation for a new hiring had been tabled or rejected.

If you haven't run across it already, Nick Ray of Hoosierland Report, has come out with his pre-season Top 25 Player rankings for each class in Indiana. Northwest Indiana players appearing on the lists include:

 Natalie Yudt of Portage (#9)
Becky Schuster of North Newton (#17) and 
Kristi Koselke of North Newton (#23) for the Class of 2000; 

   Kimberly Smith of West Side (#12) and 
Jenny DeMuth of Highland (#20) for the Class of 2001; and 

   Alex Webster of Crown Point (#5), 
Jamie Gutowski of Andrean (#11), and 
Michelle Jones of West Side (#25) for the Class of 2002. 

   You can view the complete Hoosierland Report Top 25 lists on the HR message board.

At the August IHSAA Executive Board meeting, discussion of possible formats for the 1999-2000 boys and girls basketball tournaments were conducted, with issues centering around: (1) whether the first round sectional games should be played at a central site or at the site of one of the two competing schools; (2) whether the regionals should be played on Tuesday or Wednesday; and (3) how the host site for the regionals should be determined. Any decisions with regard to these issues were tabled by the board until the September meeting.  The issue of Tuesday or Wednesday regionals will be quite interesting, as a Tuesday regional would leave only a one-day practice for regionals preparation after a Saturday sectional win. The compressed tournament schedule is bound to play a part in the outcome for those teams that must travel long distances for a series of high-level tournament games, some of which will be on school nights.  After the listed issues are decided by the IHSAA, expect to see some site assignments to be announced soon after.  
In other business at the IHSAA Executive Board meeting, Commissioner Bob Gardner recommended the mental attitude award presented in girls basketball be named in honor of retired Assistant Commissioner Patricia L. Roy. Roy was the member of the IHSAA staff responsible for girls basketball from the inception of the girls basketball tournament series in 1976 until her retirement in June 1999. The board unanimously approved the recommendation.
Two former standout high school players attending Colorado State this year as freshmen are profiled on the Colorado State Lady Rams athletic website.  Jackie Campbell of Chesterton and Elizabeth English of Rushville are expected to provide some added scoring and assist power for the Lady Rams this season.  Both girls played point guard for their teams in high school and will contribute at that position for the Rams; but 5'10 Campbell will most likely see some additional action at the off-guard and forward positions. The Rams, who posted an impressive 33-3 season last year, including a 14-0 conference record, open their regular season schedule against Michigan on November 19 at home.
The NCAA working group to study Division I basketball issues released its report and findings this week.  The report makes a number of recommendations for legislative changes, including:

 (1) strongly encouraged attendance by incoming freshmen at summer session(s) at the Division I institution where they will be enrolled full-time during the subsequent fall term, 

 (2) no regular season contests until the day after Thanksgiving, and 

 (3) tightening up of the process for certifying basketball events at which Division I basketball coaches are permitted to evaluate prospective student-athletes during viewing periods. 

  The last is a result of trying to increase the importance of the scholastic environment and decrease the impact of non-scholastic external influences in the recruitment of players.  Although the committee's recommendations for changes to NCAA legislation have been made, no action by the NCAA has yet been taken to change any of the rules pertaining to the recommendations.  Additional non-legislative recommendations were made in the report as well, including holding the NCAA Final Four for women's and men's basketball on separate weekends, so as not to diminish the importance of one over the other. To see the complete report, go to the NCAA press release on the committee's findings.

Former Purdue coach, Nell Fortner, was recently named as the coach of the still unnamed Indianapolis WNBA expansion team. Fortner, who right now is preparing to coach the 2000 Olympic USA women's basketball team, will coach via long distance for the team's first season while she finishes out her commitment to Team USA.  During the Indy team's inaugural season, one of the yet unnamed assistant coaches will take the helm, and then Fortner will step in for the 2001 WNBA season. According to a report in the Indianapolis Star, Fortner was the Indy franchise's first choice for head coach even though she would not initially be available for the first season.  It's not too hard to see where the new franchise is heading with this latest announcement. Bringing Fortner to the franchise will make even more attractive a move for former Purdue standout Stephanie McCarty, now with the Charlotte Sting.  McCartney has already expressed an interest in moving to the Indy franchise, and with McCarty's past experience with Fortner (who coached McCarty during her sophomore season at Purdue), the puzzle pieces are all falling into place.  This strategy is not a bad one for the franchise, which is planted in the center of a fan base that hold's their hometown heroes in high regard.  Getting key Indiana-based players on their roster will most likely translate into solid attendance for the franchise in the future . 
News thru Thursday, August 12

First, a quick thank you to those of you who have answered our Site Survey. We have found your reviews and suggestions quite helpful, and have already implemented some minor changes on our website due to them. We will be working over the next two months to get the RRR ready for the upcoming season. Please fill out our Site Survey if you haven't already done so. Let us know how we can make this site more useful and enjoyable for you.

According to the South Bend Tribune, incoming Mishawaka Penn senior Jessica Reiter (6'1 F/C) has verbally committed to play basketball at Ball State. Reiter averaged 10.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last season helping her Kingsmen win the regional title. Reiter was named second-team All-Northern Indiana Conference, as well as All-Sectional by the Tribune, and recently attended the invitation-only WBCA Select Camp in Suwanee, Georgia. Reiter will be joining fellow (former) Northern Indiana Conference player Amy Zercher of NorthWood at Ball State, who will be making her debut for the Cardinals this season.
Portage's Natalie Yudt is a gifted basketball athlete and that gift transcends the basketball court to other sports as well. Although she doesn't get an opportunity to spend a lot of time on the links, the incoming 6'0 junior guard/forward is the returning No. 1 golfer for the Indians this fall, and is enjoying every bit of opportunity to be outdoors after spending the summer playing 60 games of club basketball in gyms all around Indiana and the Midwest. You can read about Yudt and her transition from a summer of basketball to the upcoming golf season in The Times of Munster.
According to the Frankfort Times, 1A State Champion Clinton Prairie graduate Amanda DeVore (5'8 G/F) has signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Ill. DeVore, who was a key factor in the Clinton Prairie run to a state championship, is expected to continue playing the shooting guard and small forward position in college.
The Columbus Republic in July named Seymour graduate Jill Schneider, a 3-sport standout, Female Area Athlete of Year. Schneider (6'0 F/C) averaged 18.6 points and 9.6 rebounds for the Owls, earning all-Hoosier Hills Conference honors. The Top 10 academic graduate also helped the Owls to the semi-state in volleyball and to a school record 14 wins in softball.
Former Jennings County basketball player Danny Brown was recently hired as the new coach of the 3A Greensburg girls basketball team. Brown, who coached the Jennings County girls team for the past three years (39-24), was chosen from among 15 applicants for the position. Brown takes over after the Greensburg program finished 14-7 in 1997-98 and 12-10 in 1998-99.
A helpful correspondent from Ohio, Mike Detcher, recently attended the Junior Olympic games in Cleveland and has put together some game recaps for us involving the teams representing Indiana there -- Mohr Magic 16U and Lady Mac Magic 16U. Mohr Magic features a number of outstanding Indiana players, including Hillary Beck (Kokomo), Stacey White (Seeger), Maria Rickards (New Albany), Abby Scharlow (New Albany), Kellie Speckman (Avon), Courtney Lickliter (Park Tudor), Nora McClanahan (Triton Central), Marianne Nethery (Noblesville), Christina Shrake (Mooresville), Sara Strahm (Ben Davis) and Kathy Hay (Madison). The Lady Mac Magic also has an impressive roster, including Johnna Goff (Mt. Vernon), Kristin Pflum (Martinsville), Sara Riedeman (Greenburg), Maria Renner (Connersville), Katie Boone (Center Grove), Jill Corbett (Cathedral), Melissa Pennington (Southport), Jill Ransdell (Southport), Angie Epps (Center Grove), Christina Pedaree (Mt. Vernon), Casey Meek (Roncalli), Carrie Smith (Brebeuf), and Katie Gearlds (Beech Grove).
As you all know, Purdue player Tiffany Young was tragically killed by a drunk driver in Gary on July 31, while visiting her boyfriend there. The entire Purdue family is reeling from the loss of their friend and teammate, who was expected to be in the starting lineup this year for the Lady Boilermakers. This is the second athlete with ties to Indiana who has suffered from the actions of individuals who should not have been behind the wheel of a car. Just weeks ago, former IU player Luke Recker, brother of DeKalb's Maria Recker, was injured when a drunk driver hit the car he was riding in head-on in Colorado. Recker's girlfriend and her brother are still in very serious condition, the former being paralyzed from the chest down, and her brother still in a coma. An article in the Chicago Tribune is quite poignant in its description of Tiffany and how her unbelievably forgiving family is dealing with the loss. Our most sincere condolences go to the Young family and to Tiffany's basketball family at Purdue. For fans wishing to send sympathy cards to the parents and family of Tiffany Young, here is the address:

Billy & Gloria Young
P.O. Box 263
Hillsboro, AL 35643

As a side note, in a recent Munster Times article regarding Tiffany Young's death, former Lake Central standout and now-Purdue point guard Kelly Komara revealed that last month she had rolled her car on I-65 near Merrillville on a trip back from North Carolina, where she had gone with Purdue teammate Katie Douglas to watch Stephanie McCarty play for the WNBA Charlotte Sting. Komara suffered a badly cut hand and some bruises when her car hydroplaned, hit an abutment and then flipped over to its wheels when she tried to pull over on the highway to help a friend she was following put up the top on her Jeep when it started to rain. Komara is now in Europe with the Big Ten Women's All-Star Team, along with former Indiana high school players Jill Chapman (Blackford/Indiana) and Abby Salscheider (Bluffton/Michigan State). You can read about the Big Ten All-Star Team's exploits on the Big Ten Women's Basketball website, complete with game recaps and pictures.
Two former ABL players from Indiana, including a NWI standout, are biding their time for a slot in the WNBA next summer by playing for the U. S. Team in the PanAmerican games being played in Winnipeg, Canada. Beth Morgan Cunningham (Bloomington South/Notre Dame) and Danielle McCully (Gary West Side/Purdue/Western Kentucky) are both honing their games by staying busy this summer in the PanAm and by playing overseas. An article by Pat McKee of the Indianapolis Star reports on the activities of these two, as well as of the success of Bridget Pettis (East Chicago/Florida) in the WNBA with the Phoenix Mercury. You can get the latest info on Pettis at her profile page on the Mercury website.
The Indiana Basketball Coaches Association, made up of just about every basketball coach in the the state of Indiana, is now on-line. The IBCA site includes the Indiana Coaches' Poll during the season, and also posts association minutes, lists association reps, and (hopefully) will give all of us a chance to get the latest IBCA news throughout the season. We have added the IBCA site as a permanent addition to our Best Basketball Sites links page.
The Seattle Times is carrying a piece on the rules governing the National Letter of Intent, which puts more certainty into the recruiting process for both players and the schools they will be attending. For a more complete look at the National Letter of Intent (NLI), which recruited players will need to sign during their senior year if they agree to attend a NLI member college on a basketball scholarship, you can go to the NLI website and view the most Frequently Asked Questions regarding the signing of a NLI. The site also has posted the exact text as it appears in the NLI for the 1999-2000 signing year. The exact early signing dates in November for the 1999-2000 school year have not yet been released on the NCAA website, but as soon as we determine the NCAA calendar is updated there, we will let you know.
Thanks to a helpful regular of the RRR from New Albany, we now have a number of new on-line newspapers listed on our Prep News Map. New on-line paper links include the LaPorte Herald-Argus, Batesville Herald-Tribune, Rushville Republican, Greensburg Daily News, Decatur Daily Democrat, Linton Daily Citizen, and Columbus Republic. Those new links bring us to 45 Indiana on-line newspapers on the Prep News Map, which now uses a more user-friendly navigating format to bring up each newspaper. When you click on a city on the map now, a new window will pop up with the newspaper instead of appearing in the map frame. Hopefully this will make your news browsing a little quicker.

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