The Hoosiers have had plenty of answers on the offensive end all season long and most of Tuesday night.
Whether it is IU junior guard Tyra Buss, junior forward Amanda Cahill or senior guard Alexis Gassion, the offense has consistently been there. Issues have arisen on the defensive end, though, and that showed Tuesday.
When IU needed stops on defense in succession Tuesday night, it was not able to get them and fell, 78-74, in the Crisler Center to the Michigan Wolverines.
“I thought we played hard,” IU assistant coach Rhet Wierzba said on the IU radio postgame show on WHCC 105.1 FM. “I just don’t think we defended as well as we needed to. They had three players score almost 20 on us. That’s a recipe for not a very good game.”
The Hoosiers worked their way back into the game and got necessary stops. It just wasn’t enough to beat a Michigan team with the weapons it possesses.
IU trailed by 12 points with 8:26 to play in the fourth quarter. That is when the comeback began. IU had been hanging tough throughout the third quarter but never found its breakthrough moments.
Led by IU senior center Jenn Anderson in the post, IU methodically chipped away at the Michigan lead. By the 2:36 mark, the lead was cut down to just two points. IU had the ball with under 30 seconds left. The shot clock was off, and the Hoosiers were down just two points. IU could have taken the lead or tied. Instead, Cahill was called for a suspect traveling violation. From there, Michigan hit all of its free throws to put the game away.
Anderson ended up finishing with 21 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Buss also finished with 21 points and double-figures for the 54th consecutive game. Cahill and Gassion also scored in double figures.
The pace from the opening tip was fast, and the Hoosiers struggled to come up with stops on defense. Foul trouble may have had a bit to do with the defensive struggles. Anderson and Buss both finished with four fouls.
The Hoosiers fell behind by too much in the middle and couldn’t quite complete the comeback. Much like IU in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Michigan is a tough team to beat in the Crisler Center. The Wolverines have yet to lose at home this season.
The Hoosiers will play again Saturday in Evanston, Illinois, against the Northwestern Wildcats.
It will be another chance for IU to bounce back from a loss after falling to 2-2 in conference play and 12-5 overall 17 games into the season.
“As coach says, ‘it’s a one-game season,’” Wierzba said. “This game didn’t go how we wanted, but we’re going to bounce back Saturday, we’re going to come out with a great game plan again.”
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