Milestones continue to be surpassed by the IU women’s basketball team and more may be ahead on Saturday.
In the Hoosiers’ 69-55 victory over Wisconsin on Wednesday, senior forward Amanda Cahill became just the third IU women’s basketball player to record 1,000 career rebounds.
Meanwhile, fellow senior Tyra Buss is just two steals away from breaking the IU all-time steals record set by Kim Roberson in 2009.
Buss will look to break that record on Saturday in which IU will take on another difficult Big Ten opponent in the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers comes in at 17-5 on the year and 5-3 in conference play after being ranked in the Top 25 at one point before dropping their last two contests against Penn State and Nebraska.
The Knights bring in the Big Ten’s best defense. Their 55.4 points per game allowed is five points less than the second-best Big Ten defense. They also hold their opponents to the lowest three-point percentage in the conference while also leading the Big Ten in steals and second in blocks.
Rutgers also has a balanced scoring attack led by 5-foot-9 senior guard Tyler Scaife.
Scaife is Rutgers’ only player averaging in double digit scoring at 20.5 points, which is good enough for fourth-best in the conference.
The rest of the Knights’ offense is balanced out between seven players who average between four and seven points.
There’s also parity in their rebounding and assists numbers. Junior forwards Stasha Carey and Caitlin Jenkins are their leading rebounders at 7.7 and 7.6 per game respectively, while sophomore guard Ciani Cryor and junior guard Khadaizha Sanders lead the way in assists at 3.6 per game each.
IU Coach Teri Moren said the keys to pulling out a victory for her team will be trying to manage the aspects of the game that they have been beat by their opponents on all year.
“We’re allowing our opponents to shoot almost 45 percent from the field, and we’re getting outrebounded by four (per game) on the boards,” Moren said. “We had a conversation about how that 45 percent has to be below 40. We have to do a much better job defensively and we have to be able to control the boards even though we are undersized.”
However, IU comes into Saturday’s contest playing some of their basketball of the season. After dropping a couple of heartbreaking losses to ranked opponents in Michigan and Maryland, the Hoosiers followed that up with two straight victories, including an upset victory at Michigan State.
Cahill said it seems like their young team is starting to come around after starting off the Big Ten season dropping six of their first seven games.
“I think the experience throughout the season and getting more games under our belts, just playing as a collective group, has been really beneficial for us,” Cahill said. “I think it’s showing in recent games.”
Buss and Cahill in particular have played well as of late. In IU’s win over Wisconsin on Wednesday, the senior duo combined for 49 of their team’s 69 total points and shot a combined 7-13 from behind the arc.
Freshman guard Jaelynn Penn has also had some recent success as she is coming off IU’s first Big Ten Freshman of the Week award since Buss won it in 2014-15. Penn scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds after coming off a week in which she averaged 15.5 points on 45.8 percent shooting from the field and 72.7 percent shooting from three-point range.
Saturday’s match-up will mark the second of a four-game home stand for the Hoosiers as they look to capitalize on being in front of their home crowd after a tough road trip.
“It’s really nice to be back in front of our home crowd,” Buss said. “They bring a lot of energy to us. It’s just nice to be in your normal routine at home."
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