The eighth-hardest schedule in women’s college basketball continues for the Hoosiers as they go from a game with No. 10 Ohio State to a game at No. 14 Maryland.
Against the Buckeyes on Saturday, IU got off to a slow start and could never recover. The Hoosiers got within single digits at times, but could never truly threaten the 10th-best team in the country, losing 77-62.
That loss dropped the Hoosiers to 8-11 on the season and 1-5 in Big Ten play.
With Maryland on the horizon at 7 p.m. Tuesday night, IU will be looking at its third-straight top 25 opponent and its sixth top 25 team all year.
The Hoosiers are 0-6 in those games.
Other than the toughness of its opponents, IU has also been receiving less rest before games than its opponents.
Before IU played Purdue on Jan. 6, the Hoosiers had previously played Jan. 3, whereas the Boilermakers hadn’t played since Dec. 31.
In the most recent game against Ohio State, IU had played two days prior against No. 23 Michigan, while OSU was able to rest for five days.
As for this upcoming game, IU is on a two-day rest and Maryland is on a four-day rest.
The reason this is so significant is due to the lack of depth on the Hoosier roster. All five starters average 29 minutes or more. Just one bench player for the Hoosiers average above 10 minutes.
“There’s no balance in the scheduling, there is none,” IU Coach Teri Moren. “It’s nobody’s fault other than ours. We are not deep.”
Moren said it’s not an issue with her seniors, guard Tyra Buss and forward Amanda Cahill, because they have been playing for four years and are used to the minutes. But, the depth hurts her freshmen, guards Bendu Yeaney and Jaelynn Penn.
According to Moren, Yeaney and Penn should be playing 25 minutes a game, but because they have no bench, both freshmen are averaging over 31 minutes and have lately been clocking in 38.
“They are freshmen that get fatigued,” Moren said. “And when fatigue sets in, we turn it over, we miss shots and we miss assignments.”
Yeaney finished with five turnovers against Ohio State and Penn had eight. Penn said she knows it hurts the team and said she needs to continue to try and make the right decisions.
Making the right decisions will be important against a tough Terrapin defense that forces 20.3 turnovers a game. The Hoosiers turned it over 23 times against the Buckeyes.
Another key component for IU will be to limit the three-point shot. Maryland averages eight 3-pointers a game. Over the past two games, the Hoosiers have made nine fewer 3-pointers than their opponents.
IU scores 68.1 points per game and has been unable to hold any Big Ten team under 68 points through six games. Maryland averages 85.9.
The team knows its success will need to start on the defensive end in order to hold the high-scoring Terrapin offense in check.
“Coach is telling us we are getting better every game,” Penn said. “I think we are striving as a team. Being good defensively is really important and we just need to stick together.”
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