With 8:46 remaining in the third quarter of Wednesday’s IU women’s basketball contest at Penn State, senior guard Tyra Buss made Hoosier history.
Buss’ fast break layup, assisted by senior forward Amanda Cahill, gave her 1,918 career points. It was enough for her to break the IU women’s basketball program’s career scoring record set by Denise Jackson back in the 1983-84 season.
By the time the game ended, Buss had scored 27 points against Penn State, giving her 1,931 career points for IU.
However, it wasn’t Buss’ record-breaking shot that fueled a resilient comeback attempt from IU in the game.
Buss’ third quarter layup was just two points in the Hoosiers’ eventual 77-74 loss to the Penn State Lady Lions. In fact, the basket didn’t even give them the lead as they still trailed 42-40 when Buss finally made history.
Despite all the recognition surrounding Buss’ record, it was her all-around performance that led the way for her team.
She finished the night with 27 points on 7-15 shooting and 3-6 shooting from 3-point range to go along with three assists and three steals.
Buss also played physical defense as she held Penn State’s leading scorer, junior guard Teniya Page, to just 10 points, which is six below her average.
"It means a lot to me," Buss said. "I’m humbled and honored to get the all-time scoring record. I wish we would have gotten the win, that’s what we came here to do and that’s what is most important to me."
Even though Buss’ big night did not translate into a victory for IU, it was a team performance that showed no lack of heart in the Hoosiers.
Defense from both sides was hard to find in a high-scoring first half as IU went into halftime trailing the Lady Lions 42-36.
Much like they have all season, the Hoosiers were met with a number of different half-court zones to force them to shoot outside. Although they struggled by going 1-6 from beyond the arc in the half, they managed to find enough holes in Penn State’s defense to get open looks inside.
IU scored 28 of its first half points in the paint, keeping them within striking distance going forward.
In the second half, the Lady Lions held the lead for almost the entire 20 minutes. IU tied it up two separate times but could never get over the hump.
A devastating stretch for the Hoosiers began with 3:48 left in the third quarter and proved to be too much for IU to bounce back from.
After Buss’ free throw tied the game up at 50, Penn State went on a 10-0 run to finish out the quarter and take a 60-50 lead heading into the fourth.
The Lady Lions' run did not end there. Penn State’s 2-3 zone forced IU to go ice cold from the field. With 6:30 left in the fourth, the run had been expanded to 16-3, and Penn State had as high as a 15-point lead with time running out for the Hoosiers.
It looked like a dire situation for IU Coach Teri Moren’s squad but that’s when they showed their resiliency.
IU completely flipped the switch on Penn State from there.
In a matter of about six minutes, the Hoosiers got themselves back into the game by outscoring Penn State 21-8.
Buss and Cahill spurred the momentum by heating up from outside. After a big three from Cahill and four clutch free throws from Buss and freshman guard Jaelynn Penn, IU had fought back to tie the game up at 74 with 21 seconds left.
However, that’s when the wheels fell off of the IU comeback train.
Penn State got a layup from freshman Siyeh Frazier after an IU defensive collapse with 15 seconds left. Then, after an untimely offensive foul by junior forward Kym Royster and an errant inbounds pass from Cahill that was stolen by Frazier, all the momentum died as the clock ran out.
Overshadowed by Buss’ big game was an impressive performance from Cahill as the two seniors carried IU in the second half. Cahill had 21 points to go along with 12 rebounds.
Even with a heartbreaking loss, it was a historic night for the IU program.
But, just as Buss will continue her quest to add to her all-time scoring record, Moren and her staff will continue their own quest toward their team’s first Big Ten win of the season.
"Transition defense was non-existent, especially in the first half," Moren said. "All those things we struggled with in the first half were why we dug ourselves a hole. You can say what you want about the fight back but it should never have been a fight."
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