The Missouri Valley Conference tallied five victories after the first weekend of play, including a perfect 2-0 start in Indiana State. Two league teams play at home tonight as Missouri State opens its season against visiting No. 22 Oklahoma State and Southern Illinois hosts Central Arkansas.
Highlights from the Valley's first weekend of play include:
FIRST ROAD VICTORY
Evansville earned its first road victory under second-year head coach Oties Epps Friday night with a 54-45 win at Ball State. The Purple Aces went 0-14 in road games last season with their only win away from the Ford Center coming against Troy in the Dead River Company Classic in Orono, Maine.
The MVC played two teams that were “Receiving Votes” in the USA Today Coaches Poll, falling by a combined total of three points. UNI lost to UW-Green Bay, 53-54, while Wichita State was edged by LSU, 70-72.
Indiana State posted a 30-point win over Eastern Illinois last Friday, topping the Panthers 69-39. ISU’s win by 30 points was its largest margin of victory since defeating Southern Illinois by 36 points (93-57) on Feb. 25, 2011.
Illinois State senior guard Jamie Russell was added to the 2013 Final Four Watch List by Overseas Basketball Combines. The watch list is made up of seniors eligible for the WNBA draft at the end of the 2012-13 season.
THREE x FIVE
Khristian Hart led Evansville with a career-high 19 points in the Purple Aces’ 54-45 win at Ball State Friday night. Hart became the first Evansville player to hit five three-pointers in a game since Courtney Felke in 2008, going 5-for-11 beyond the arc against the Cardinals.
UNI’s Jacqui Kalin made her return to the court last Saturday after receiving a medical-redshirt during the 2011-12 season. Now entering her sixth season, Kalin is on track to become UNI’s all-time leading scorer.
JENSEN TAKES AIM AT 100
With three three-pointers in her first game, senior Ally Jensen moved into a tie for ninth in Creighton history. She now has 151 career three-pointers, three shy of tying Ally Thrall for eighth place.
LADY BEARS AMONG NATION'S TOP MID-MAJOR PROGRAMS
Missouri State appeared in the No. 12 spot of the initial CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 this season. The Lady Bears are the top-ranked team in the MVC in the poll (Creighton ranks No. 20).
MVC’S NEW BEGINNINGS
Two Valley Coaches begin their tenures last week as Michael Brooks opened his Bradley coaching debut with the Braves against Central Michigan, while Drake’s Jennie Baranczyk started the season against South Dakota. A three-time captain at Iowa, Baranczyk was a four-year letterwinner at forward from 2000-04 under Lisa Bluder. Brooks was an assistant coach at Bradley in 2011-12, and was the team’s Director of Operations in 2009-10.