Well, at least for Thursday night, the Hoosiers chose the former.
Four days after defeating Purdue by 14 points at home, IU dominated a lesser opponent in Michigan (9-10, 2-6), defeating the Wolverines 60-50. The win keeps IU (14-3, 7-1) atop the Big Ten Conference’s standings.
The 7-1 mark is the Hoosiers’ best-ever start.
“I just think that Michigan is a really fundamentally sound team,” IU coach Felisha Legette-Jack said in a statement released by IU Athletics. “They have such discipline in their offensive segment that pressured our defense so much, and it had us second guessing ourselves a lot. But one thing about our team – when we stay together, for some reason, we figure out how to come together and win.”
IU led wire-to-wire after senior guard Kim Roberson’s 3-pointer seven seconds into the game. When sophomore guard Jori Davis scored with 16:20 remaining in the first half, she was the last Hoosier starter to do so. Her jumper capped a 10-0 run to put the Hoosiers up 13-3 at that point. IU jogged into the locker room with a 36-19 advantage.
The second half was more of the same for the Hoosiers.
Its largest lead of the game came after senior forward Amber Jackson’s field goal in the half’s first minute, putting the Hoosiers up 19. Although Michigan played a much more competitive second half, outscoring IU 31-24, the closest the Wolverines got was on three different occasions when they cut the Hoosier lead to 10.
IU held Michigan to 37 percent shooting from the field (17-of-45), with eight of its 17 field goals coming from beyond the 3-point line. IU improved to 10-1 when holding opponents under 40 percent from the field.
“I don’t think they really wanted shots on the inside,” Legette-Jack said in the statement. “I think they really want the ball to go inside and come back out. We tried to pretend a little bit and go inside and come back out and defend the 3. I just think that if we’re giving up 2s it’s better than giving up 3s, so we rolled the dice and that kind of helped us out.”
As has been the story for the Hoosiers all year, someone different stepped up for IU. Jackson, who in Monday night’s game against Purdue had season lows in points with four and field goal attempts with just three, was back to her usual productive self Thursday. She led all scorers with 18 points on 8-of-14 from the floor. She also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
“Every game is key for tempo because if we’re playing a tempo that we want to play that means we’re going to do something right and that means we’re going to get the open looks that we had,” junior Jamie Braun said in the statement. “Amber Jackson was really big on rebounds off of my missed shots, so if we have the tempo that means we’re doing something right and usually helps us out in the long run.”
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