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Poor shooting night dooms Hoosiers on the road


Junior guard Tyra Buss plays against Penn State in January at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Buss led all scorers with 19 points in IU's win over Northwestern on Saturday. Bobby Goddin Buy Photos

The old adage of a “lid being on the basket” was relevant Thursday night for IU women’s basketball.

When IU needed a clutch shot to fall, no one on the floor could deliver. Both teams' shooting struggles were evident. Sure, the defense may have been there, but the Hoosiers came in struggling with shots from behind the arc on the road, and that continued.

IU shot just 34 percent from the field Thursday night in East Lansing, Michigan, and it fell to Michigan State, 69-60, in the Breslin Center.

“You get in the gym and watch some film,” IU Assistant Coach Janese Banks said about the shooting struggles on the IU postgame show on WHCC 105.1 FM. “That’s the number one thing. You can’t get away from that. You have to get in the gym and shoot.”

The Hoosiers came into the night shooting just 23 percent from behind the arc in their last three road games. On Thursday they were just 25 percent from downtown. Michigan State ended the game at 40 percent at 23-for-57 shooting, which was the same percentage the Hoosiers shot on two-point field goals, going 14-for-35.

The shooting struggles seemed to have come about seemingly out of nowhere. At one point in the non-conference portion of the season, IU as a team was near the top of the Big Ten in field goal percentage with an upwards of 50-percent success rate.

“There’s no magic formula, there’s no potion, no magic story I can tell you,” Banks said. “You have to get in the gym and shoot. You have to get game-like shots up, game-like reps, game-like speed, all of that so your muscle memory starts to play itself back.”

IU junior guard Tyra Buss was one player who struggled from the field. Buss ended up scoring in double figures for the 59th consecutive game with 16 points, but that was on just 6-of-17 shooting. IU junior forward Amanda Cahill had a game-high 17 points with a reasonable 5-of-13 outing from the field.

Credit Michigan State for exposing IU’s shooting woes. Michigan State didn’t shoot a great number either, but the Spartans’ defense gave the Hoosiers fits all night. The Hoosiers never got a run and didn’t have any semblance of a consistent offense with 11 turnovers. Banks credited Michigan State for sagging off on defense to force IU into lower-percentage shots.

“They went under everything we were doing,” Banks said. “Our inability to make shots from the outside didn’t make them adjust. Until we start proving that we can light it up from outside, then teams may continue to do that to us.”

Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall has been a little bit kinder to the Hoosiers in terms of shooting. If there is a way to get IU back on track from the field, a little home cooking may not be a bad idea. Their task against Maryland, however, won’t be easy.

“Hopefully back at home our outside shot will be falling,” Banks said.

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