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Balanced scoring and defense powers women's basketball to win



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Senior guard Tyra Buss shoots a layup during the game against Purdue on Jan. 6 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. IU beat Purdue 72-54. Ty Vinson Buy Photos

For the third consecutive game, senior guard Tyra Buss led IU in scoring.

But for the first time during the stretch, Buss received significant offensive help from her Hoosier teammates.

A total of four IU players, including Buss, scored in double figures as IU defeated Purdue 72-54 on Saturday at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall for IU's first win in Big Ten play.

Increased intensity was evident at both ends of the court for the Hoosiers, who limited their opponent to less than 60 points scored for the first time since Dec. 9. 

IU (8-9 overall, 1-3 in conference) outscored Purdue (10-7 overall, 1-2 in conference) 18-5 in the first quarter, a period during which Purdue made only two shots.

"I thought we just came out with a lot of energy, a lot of fire," Buss said. "It started defensively too. We were just up in them, pressuring them, they got flustered and were turning the ball over."

The Hoosiers would go on to outscore the Boilermakers in each of the game's four quarters, although by no more than a two-point margin following the fast start.

A constant throughout the game was IU's dominance inside the paint. IU scored 46 points in the paint compared to Purdue's 26.

This allowed for big games from senior forward Amanda Cahill and junior forward Kym Royster. 

The pair combined for 33 points and 12 rebounds, with 11 rebounds coming on defense.

"It came down to defense," Cahill said. "I think that's what got us the early lead and I think that's what kept us the lead the entire game."

IU trailed for 18 out of a possible 2,400 seconds in the game, and didn't allow Purdue to shoot better than 45.5% from the field in a given quarter.

IU Coach Teri Moren said her team had only a day and a half to prepare for the game following Wednesday night's loss at Penn State.

However, IU managed to ride momentum from its strong finish to Wednesday's game into Saturday.

"We've been on edge," Moren said. "The beginning of Big Ten play has not gone the way we would've liked it. Our kids knew that the defensive end was going to be really important today and their energy and their focus and all of that was gonna matter."

Moren said the team has been watching more film than it ever has to help the team's five freshman players learn, but also uses the senior leadership provided by Buss and Cahill during games.

"Amanda Cahill is a great basketball player that has a high IQ, understands the game," Moren said. "I just thought today she and Tyra both looked like the seniors that they are."

Prior to the game, Buss was honored on the court with her family as part of a celebration after she became IU's all-time leading scorer Wednesday.

With Buss' 19 points Saturday, she now has 1,950 career points for IU. She nearly recorded a double-double, but finished the game with nine assists and five steals.

While both Buss and Moren acknowledged the ceremony as a special moment, Buss was more focused on the 40 minutes following the ceremony than the event itself.

"I was very appreciative of that and honored," Buss said. "But my main focus was to win the basketball game."

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