There won’t be a lot of time for the IU women’s basketball team to celebrate one of its biggest wins of the season.
Not only did the Hoosiers dominate Purdue in their 74-52 drubbing of the Boilermakers at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Saturday, but they also won the team's first Big Ten conference win of the season.
It was a much-needed victory for IU Coach Teri Moren and her 8-9 squad. Moren said there was an uneasy feeling throughout the IU locker room after the team started off conference play 0-3 with a tough stretch of losses to Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State.
“We’ve been on edge as Big Ten play has not gone the way we would have liked it to,” Moren said. “Even though we’ve come up short, it’s just the way we’ve come up short that has put us all on edge.”
However, now that they’ve secured that elusive first Big Ten win, the Hoosiers will have yet another quick turnaround as they travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Wednesday to take on another one of the conference’s best teams, the Michigan Wolverines.
The Wolverines come into the contest ranked No. 23 in the country and have the second-best defense in the conference that gives up just 59.7 points per game.
It will be a tough match-up for the Hoosiers, who will be looking to duplicate their performance against Purdue. In that game, IU shot 28-48 from the field due in large part to getting the ball inside for high-percentage shots and outscoring the Boilermakers 46-26 in the paint.
IU’s defense was also effective in Saturday’s win as IU held Purdue to just 34 percent shooting. Moren said she believes the improved defense came partially from an increase in watching film in practice, which will most likely be a strategy she and the coaching staff will continue to use while preparing for Michigan.
“We’re watching more film than we ever have and I have to believe that is helping,” Moren said. “Hopefully that’s the lesson that they’ve learned. If you can come in focused and take away any tendencies of other teams, you’re always going to give yourselves an opportunity.”
The Hoosier defense will have to be prepared to take on a balanced Michigan offense that has scoring options both inside and out.
Wolverine senior guard Katelynn Flaherty leads the team in scoring with a 22.9-point scoring average. She comes in as the Big Ten’s second-leading scorer, setting up a possible battle between her and IU’s high-scoring senior guard, Tyra Buss.
Buss comes in as the Big Ten's sixth-leading scorer, averaging 20.5 points.
Michigan can also hurt its opponents inside with 6-5 junior center Hallie Thome.
Thome comes in as the conference’s ninth-leading scorer at 16.9 points and second in field goal percentage at 0.64 to go along with 7.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.
IU senior forward Amanda Cahill (13.5 points, 8.4 rebounds) and junior forward Kym Royster (11.8 points, 6.8 rebounds) will look to combat Thome’s presence down low after both Hoosiers had solid performances against Purdue.
Meanwhile, sophomore guard Nicole Munger comes off the bench to average 5.7 points and is one of the Big Ten’s best three-point shooters at 41 percent.
With all its scoring options, Michigan will be one of IU’s toughest opponents of the season, but Moren said she hopes her team can bounce back from a short break, just like they did against Purdue.
“We don’t have a whole lot of time to process and think about what’s next,” Moren said. “We have another short turnaround now. We have to go to Michigan and then come back home for Ohio State. It doesn’t get any easier.”
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