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Tallest task of season awaits for IU women's basketball



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Senior guard Tyra Buss takes a shot against Western Kentucky on Nov. 17 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Buss and the Hoosier will play their highest-ranked opponent of the season Thursday night when No. 4 Louisville comes to Bloomington. Ty Vinson Buy Photos

After flying to California and picking up one win and one loss, the 4-2 Hoosiers are now home as they await their toughest test this season has to offer — the No. 4 Louisville Cardinals.

The Cardinals are 6-0 this year and have already played three ranked opponents, including two Big Ten teams. 

Louisville had a close 95-90 overtime victory over No. 5 Ohio State on the road and two victories at home against No. 24 Michigan, 74-49, and No. 10 Oregon, 74-61.

Last time they took the floor was against Murray State, where the Cardinals set a school record for points in a 115-51 rout. 

Most of that scoring was done by the Cardinals' bench with 76 points, which could present a big problem for IU with only 10 eligible players on the roster, half of whom are freshmen. 

Four of the five starters for IU are averaging 30 or more minutes, with the fifth averaging around 26. 

If Louisville is able to substitute fresh lineup after fresh lineup and have it be as effective as it was against Murray State, IU’s starters might be in for a long night, especially if anyone gets into foul trouble.

The last time IU was on the court against Saint Mary’s, the Hoosiers ran into that problem. With seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, senior forward Amanda Cahill fouled out when the team trailed, 70-66. 

Even though the Hoosiers kept it close throughout the quarter, it just wasn’t the same without Cahill, who had 10 points and does all the little things, according to IU Coach Teri Moren.

IU eventually went on to drop that game, 88-82. 

By the time that game was over, four of the seven players who played, excluding Cahill, had four fouls each.

“I’m disappointed that we didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but I thought our freshmen grew up a little bit, which is a really good thing going into the game against Louisville,” Moren said in an interview with IU athletics.

The freshmen Moren referenced were guards Jaelynn Penn and Bendu Yeaney, who both grew up in California. Against SMU, Penn had 21 points and nine boards, while Yeaney finished with 15 points.

“Bendu didn’t shoot it too well against UAB, but she bounced back against Saint Mary’s,” Moren said. “Kind of that same thing for JP, she’s been struggling with her shot at home. So, it was nice to see both those young ladies hit some shots from the outside, which certainly gives them confidence.” 

Despite the offensive performances, Moren wants to see improvement on the defensive end for the team as a whole. 

She said that the team needs to understand there are no moments to rest and relax on defense. 

The team will look to get after the Cardinals defensively as the game tips off at 8 p.m.

This will be the first ranked opponent IU will play this season. 

“It’s going to be a great test,” Moren said. “I know our kids are looking forward to it, but it’s going to be a 40-minute game. One of the things we’ve learned through our wins and losses is that you have to show up every night and play 40 minutes.”

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