Depth, height, turnovers and defense.
Those are the four issues the IU women’s basketball team finds itself playing with every game.
Some games, the Hoosiers find ways to resolve those issues, like Wednesday night against No. 23 Michigan.
In that game with the Wolverines, IU was able to make adjustments for Michigan’s six-foot-five center, limit its turnovers to 10 and play suffocating defense to stall the Wolverine offense.
That took care of its height, turnovers and defense, but the depth became a problem when senior forward Amanda Cahill fouled out with seven minutes left in that game, leading to a tough 84-79 loss.
Then, there are games where all four issues pile onto one another.
That was the case this past Saturday when IU took on the No. 10-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.
Due to lack of depth, IU Coach Teri Moren had her five starters playing 32 minutes or more in a 40-minute game. Moren said that leads to fatigue, which leads to turnovers — IU had 23 turnovers in this contest.
Next came the defensive struggles. The Buckeyes six-foot-three center, senior Stephanie Mavunga, used her size to put up 20 points and 18 rebounds.
When the Hoosiers went down to double team Mavunga, she kicked it out to the shooters of OSU and IU could not close out in time, leading to 11 Buckeye 3-pointers made.
These four problems resulted in a 77-62 loss.
Moren said the thing that hurt her team the most was the turnovers. Freshmen guards Jaelynn Penn and Bendu Yeaney led the way in that category with eight and five, respectively, many of which were unforced.
“I turned it over a lot and that hurt us,” Penn said. “I just need to continue to try and make the right decisions.”
Despite the eight turnovers, Penn was the leading scorer for IU, dropping 20 points and grabbing nine rebounds.
Penn did most of her damage in the second quarter as she scored 14 of the 18 Hoosier points. Penn said she noticed attacking the basket was working, so she just had to keep it up.
Cahill was the other offensive spark for IU, posting a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards.
Her senior partner, guard Tyra Buss, had one of her quieter games on the year with just 10 points. Buss averages 19.8 points per game on the season.
“Tyra looked tired,” Moren said. “She struggled. Fatigue sets in when you’re playing 39 minutes a game, but we can’t afford to rest her.”
It also didn’t help that Buss was being pressured every possession up and down the court by the Buckeye guards.
The same Buckeye backcourt that totaled 54 of the 77 points. Guards like seniors Kelsey Mitchell, who leads the NCAA with 25.6 ppg, and Linnae Harper, who shot 8-15 from the field and 3-5 from deep.
Before the game Moren said this team could score at all five positions. The Buckeyes did just that as they only needed three bench points to secure the victory.
The Hoosiers have had the eighth hardest schedule in women’s basketball so far, and it doesn’t get any easier as they head to College Park, Maryland, to take on the No. 11-ranked Terrapins.
“We’ll find some positives in this game,” Moren said. “It’s never as bad as it seems and it’s never as good as it seems, right? That’s life. We will just keep chipping away and stay together and go pack our bags and head to Maryland.”
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