Jaguars Visit the Stu
The Jaguars of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, out of the Summit League, will visit the east coast for the only time this year when they travel to the Siegel Center. IUPUI may sound like two schools but the Jaguars only get 13 scholarship players just like VCU. Also like VCU the Jaguars are 2-1.
Last Time Out
IUPUI hosted VCU last season and defeated the Rams 70-69. The Jaguars turned the ball over 27 times. Somehow they still managed to win despite a -12 turnover margin. 34 points in the paint for IUPUI allowed them to shoot better than 55% from the field including 7-14 from beyond the arc. Center Mikale Rogers and Guard Sydney Hall did most of the damage for the Jaguars in that match-up. Those two each scored 19 points and Rogers grabbed seven rebounds. Both of these players return this season and are major contributors. Rogers is averaging 14 points per game with seven rebounds. Hall is averaging 10 points per game.
IUPUI has used the same starting line-up for the first three games. All five starters are scoring over 10 points a game. Jaguars’ Head Coach Austin Parkinson has only eight players who’ve played in more than one game this season. Beth O’Boyle has 14 different players who have appeared in at least two games this season. IUPUI gets most of its contributions from six players. Outside of Keira Robinson and Isis Thorpe, who both average double figures, VCU’s contributions come from a variety of players. The Rams have 6 different players who have scored 10 or more in a game this year but only two, Robinson and Thorpe, who average at least 10.
The Jaguars aren’t much of a threat to beat teams with the three. They only shoot 29% but VCU is even worse, shooting 23%. Through three games the Rams have only made EIGHT shots from behind the arc. Half of them came in their last game, a win over Campbell. Their shooting woes are an even bigger issue when you consider Camille Calhoun was injured in VCU’s game against Minnesota. Calhoun is a Forward who is 6 feet tall. She was expected to be one the best post players for the Rams. Calhoun was a consistent offensive option when she was healthy now they will have to lean more heavily junior Curteeona Brelove and sophomores Bria Gibson and Sandra Skinner. Coach O’Boyle also has 6’4 freshman Danielle Hammond. She’s only played four minutes this year but her size could relieve some stress from VCU’s offense when they can’t find their shot. Hammond may get some playing time in this game if IUPUI’s 6’2 center Mikale Rogers finds success against the Rams’ smaller defenders.
Programs on the Rise
Austin Parkinson has turned IUPUI into a quality program. They’ve won 20 or more games three of the last four seasons. This season they look capable of reaching 20 wins again thanks to a mix of returning production and young talent. I doubt VCU takes this team lightly considering the Jaguars beat them last season. After losing to Minnesota last week, this is the type of game the Rams need to win. It’s a quality opponent but one that this growing program would like to say they are better than. A loss to IUPUI would sting because expectations around O’Boyle’s Rams have grown. Obviously, it’s only November, VCU will move on regardless of the result but it’s important to grab quality non-conference wins, especially when they are at home.