This season, Emma Benoit and her University of Indianapolis women’s basketball teammates are rebounding, shooting and scoring better than a year ago, when the Greyhounds won only eight games.
The team also has another important factor going for it, said Benoit, a Hampshire graduate.
“I’ve never been on a team where every single girl likes each other,” said Benoit, a junior forward. “We get along very well.”
The camaraderie is part of a 4-2 start for NCAA Division II Indy, which plays at
1 p.m. Saturday at Lewis University in Romeoville.
“You’ve got to get the right kids in who want to win but also care about each other,” Greyhounds coach Kristin Wodrich said. “Our kids really do care about each other. They want to be good, so they’re coachable.”
Benoit, who transferred from Northern Michigan at midseason a year ago, is leading the team with
6.2 rebounds a game and is the second-leading scorer (14.7 points a game).
“Emma has improved tremendously,” Wodrich said. “She’s gotten a lot better on the block and on the high post. She’s able to stretch the defense out.”
Benoit had a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds Sunday against Tiffin.
Indy also has received help from freshman forward Liz Alsot (McHenry) and freshman guard-forward Katie Sowa (Cary-Grove), who have played in every game.
Alsot is averaging five points and
2.5 rebounds. She had a career-high
20 points in 27 minutes during a 68-59 victory last week against Lake Superior State.
Sowa (2.5 points, 1.2 rebounds) had a career-best game of 12 points and three rebounds in the 90-78 victory against Tiffin.
“The best thing about them is they expect to work,” Wodrich said. “When we need them to play, they play hard.”
The Greyhounds are scoring 70.7 points a game, almost eight points better than a year ago. On the boards, they are pulling down almost five rebounds more a game. The team is connecting on 40.2 percent of its 3-pointers, much improved from last season’s 27.5 percent.
“We have some new players, and they’re able to knock down shots,” Wodrich said. “They move the ball well, and we have kids who can score the basketball.”
The Greyhounds also have quality backups to spell their starters.
“The freshmen have been huge for us,” Wodrich said. “Being able to have that depth is important for us.”
Fabulous freshman Messino: Kate Messino (Marian Central) was named freshman of the year and earned a spot on the All-American Rivers Conference first team in volleyball.
The setter averaged a team-high 10.1 assists a set, which ranked 35th nationally in D-III. She was second on the team with 3.07 digs.
Messino helped the Spartans (24-9) to the American Rivers tournament championship and the program’s first NCAA tournament berth since 1998. Dubuque lost to 10th-ranked University of Chicago in the first round.
Messino posted a career-high 50 assists three times this season, along with 10 other matches of at least 40 assists.
McKnight wins MVFC honor: Illinois State sophomore defensive end Romeo McKnight was recognized Tuesday with a spot on the Missouri Valley Football Conference’s All-Newcomer Team.
McKnight, a Crystal Lake Central grad in his first season with the Football Championship Subdivision Redbirds (6-5), led the team with three sacks, nine tackles for loss and 11 quarterback hurries. He compiled 47 tackles, including 24 solos. Two of McKnight’s sacks came in a victory at Football Bowl Subdivision member Colorado State.
Taking down the champs: Marian Central grad Adam Pischke had eight points and four assists last weekend to help D-II Lewis University beat defending men’s basketball national champion Ferris State, 87-79, in Romeoville.
Pischke, a junior guard for the Flyers, made two free throws with seven seconds remaining to keep the 14th-ranked Bulldogs at bay.
For the season, Pischke is averaging 7.6 points a game for the Flyers (4-1), along with 2.4 assists and 1.4 rebounds while starting every game.
• Barry Bottino writes a weekly column about local college athletes for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @BarryOnCampus on Twitter.