After sophomore captain Jori Davis put in a layup and senior guard Kim Roberson stole the ensuing inbounds pass and scored another layup, the Hoosiers rolled out of State College, Pa., with an 84-77 victory against the Nittany Lions on Sunday.
IU coach Felisha Legette-Jack said the defense in the last four minutes won the game.
“Well, what went away from it in the beginning was our defense,” Legette-Jack said in a statement. “We hardly ever give up 37 points in the first half, and we decided that we were ready to play defense in the last four minutes. I knew it was going to come, I just didn’t know when it was going to come.”
The Hoosiers (11-3, 4-1) continued their balanced scoring attack with all five starters reaching double figures and accounting for 75 of the team’s 84 points.
The Nittany Lions (7-8, 2-3) also had five players score in double figures, led by guard Tyra Grant with 17.
The game included 14 ties and 13 lead changes, but the Hoosiers closed the contest on a 13-4 run led by veteran players.
Senior All-American candidate Whitney Thomas scored 19 points but had a lot of help as junior point guard Jamie Braun, who played 37 of the 40 minutes, netted 17 points. Braun is now 30 points from joining Thomas atop the career 1,000-point plateau.
Senior Amber Jackson scored 14 points and pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds. The Hoosiers’ other two starters, Roberson and Davis, scored 12 and 13 points, respectively.
Although the Hoosiers’ usual scorers performed well, the nine points from sophomore guard Andrea McGuirt might have been the difference in the game. McGuirt kept the game close in the first half with 3-of-3 shooting from behind the arc in a span of 3 and a half minutes in which Penn State held its biggest lead at seven points.
Legette-Jack said McGuirt has been coming into the gym for extra practice with the managers and, in addition to her 3.9 GPA in the Kelley School of Business, is performing well on the court.
“Every time I looked at her, I looked at her eyes and she looked like she was ready,” Legette-Jack said. “But her number never got called at Minnesota or the games prior to that. But today I made that call, and she stepped up. And that’s what young kids have to understand. You don’t know when your blessing is going to come, but if you stay ready that can be your moment. And she had that moment and she embraced it. And my goodness, she is a kid that is well-deserving of it.”
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