To pull off the upset against No. 20 Michigan at home on Thursday night, IU Coach Teri Moren said she knew her team would have to shut down the Wolverines behind the arc.
Michigan carried an NCAA-best 40.8 percent mark from 3-point range into the game. The Wolverines would not come close to hitting that mark in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, as the Hoosiers held them to just four-of-19 shooting from long range in a 72-61 IU win.
Junior guard Tyra Buss said the energy and up-tempo pace was a key for the Hoosier defense. IU’s guards were flying around the court all night. They dropped into the paint to help defend six-foot-five Michigan sophomore center Hallie Thome and closed out quickly on 3-point attempts.
“We were contesting them, so whenever they were shooting we were right there on the catch,” Buss said. “I thought we all did a really good job of that.”
The Michigan guards, junior Katelynn Flaherty and freshman Kysre Gondrezick, came into the game making more than five threes per game between the two of them. Against the IU defense, the two made just one shot from behind the arc in 13 attempts. Their struggles contributed to Michigan’s 21-percent mark from 3-point range in the game.
Offensively, IU was able to break out of a shooting slump of its own by knocking down seven threes, the most since burying seven in a win against Purdue on Jan. 19.
Six of IU’s makes from downtown came in the first half as Buss, junior forward Amanda Cahill and senior guard Karlee McBride made two each. Buss said the ball movement was key for IU’s first half shooting success.
“We’re a really unselfish team, and we look for the extra pass,” Buss said. “Coach told us the drive and kicks were going to be there.”
McBride had made just three of her previous 18 3-point shot attempts coming into Thursday’s game but caught fire in the opening half. She sunk two threes and converted a pair of and-one plays after being fouled on made layups.
“It’s really a lot of confidence,” McBride said. “My teammates really got me going, and once one of us goes, all of us go.”
The win over the Wolverines marked the second straight strong defensive outing from the Hoosiers. On Saturday, IU held Northwestern to just 38 points, the fewest points allowed by IU in a Big Ten game in more than 30 years.
Moren said she and her team knew Flaherty, Thome and Gondrezick all had the ability to fill up the stat sheet. Stopping them and preventing runs of consecutive 3-pointers were key to getting the win.
“It goes back to just our mindset defensively,” Moren said. “I thought we were really in tune — just like we were against Northwestern — to the things that we wanted to try to take away from them.”
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