The Villanova Wildcats’ first six made shots came from behind the arc.
Unlike IU's win over SMU on Thursday, it was clear Sunday's game was going to be a shootout. The Hoosiers stayed close, but the Wildcats shot lights out all afternoon and the Hoosiers could do nothing to stop them. The shots kept pouring in for the Wildcats as the crowd of 4,770 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall fought to keep the Hoosiers in the game.
IU's season came to a close in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament quarterfinals as Villanova pulled off a 69-57 win on Sunday afternoon.
“We knew they were good 3-point shooters,” IU junior guard Tyra Buss said. “It just didn’t feel like they hardly missed that first half.”
Right from the beginning, the Hoosiers were playing catch-up. There was a certain point when it seemed Villanova wasn’t going to miss a 3-pointer. It wasn’t until the 1:33 mark of the first quarter that Villanova made a shot inside the arc. 21 of the Wildcats' 25 first-quarter points came on 3-pointers.
Villanova’s ball rotation had IU chasing shooters. At halftime, the Wildcats were shooting 58.8 percent from behind the arc. Seven of those 3s came in the first quarter, and just three were made in the second quarter. IU Coach Teri Moren said she thought Villanova had to cool down from the field at some point, which it did in the second half, but IU went equally as cold. The Hoosiers never got closer than four points behind the Wildcats in the final two quarters.
“This team was going to challenge us every way defensively,” Moren said. “We didn’t anticipate them catching fire the way they did that first quarter — first half really. We knew they could shoot it, but our switches were not near as aggressive as they needed to be.”
The poor switches were a common trend as Villanova shot its way into the half with 10 treys. Buss said the Hoosiers fixed their issues with switching in the second half. However, after halftime when they needed to start up their offense, the Hoosiers failed.
Moren focused on one specific area that needed to be improved in Sunday’s loss - missed shots around the basket. There were point-blank shots that could have swung the game. Instead of those bouncing in, they bounced out.
“We just didn’t score enough points,” Moren said. “Scoring only 57 points is a problem. We’re used to being in the 70s. We just didn’t put enough points on the board this afternoon to win the game.”
Villanova ended the game shooting just 42 percent from the floor and 38 percent from behind the arc thanks to poor shooting in the third and fourth quarters, but it was the first half that did the Hoosiers in.
“You got to give it up to Villanova,” Buss said. “They shot really well today.”
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