By: Josh Margolis
It may have been Senior Day for the IU Women’s basketball team, but it’s been the underclassman who have been the ones leading the way for the Hoosiers this season. It was no different Saturday, as a furious comeback from the Hoosiers nearly led to an upset of #21 Nebraska.
IU trailed most of the night, at one point, they found themselves down by as much as 12. A poor shooting day and an inability to guard the post had the Hoosiers reeling.
“We struggled with guarding their bigs,” said IU head coach Teri Moren. “[Nebraska head coach Connie Yori] is a terrific coach, and she took advantage of us in the low block.”
Nebraska’s starting forwards Hailie Sample and Emily Cady, both seniors, dominated inside. The duo combined for 34 points and 18 rebounds in the contest, and generally made life difficult for Indiana on both ends of the floor. In fact, Cady’s four blocks were one fewer than the five blocks the Hoosiers accrued all game.
“We’re dealing with 4 seniors [on Nebraska], 2 post players out on the floor that have seen everything,” Moren said.
Even with the disadvantage Indiana faced inside, the Hoosiers were able to make things interesting down the stretch. Down by nine, 54-63, with just under two and a half minutes remaining, a lineup consisting solely of underclassmen–three of them freshmen–tarted stepping up.
A layup from freshman Tyra Buss closed the deficit to seven. On the next two possessions, freshman Jess Walter scored three points, from both a free throw and a layup, shrunk the margin to four. Soon after, a Larryn Brooks three pointer cut it to one with 17 seconds left. Nebraska was fouled, and two Cornhusker free throws pushed their lead back up to three.
“Down the stretch, you’re looking at three freshman, [Amanda] Cahill, Jess [Walter], and Tyra [Buss],” Moren said. “They were with Alexis [Gassion], who is not a post player, and Larryn [Brooks]. They got us back in the game.”
With no timeouts and just 12 seconds to work with, Indiana struggled finding an open three. Eventually, Buss would throw up an off-balance three, but it fell well short, giving the Cornhuskers the 64-67 victory.
The loss drops the Hoosiers to 14-13 on the season, with a 4-12 conference record. Only two regular season games are left for the Hoosiers, both on the road.
“We’re going to have to go to Maryland and Rutgers and finish the regular season as well as we can,” Moren said.