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Women’s basketball looks for sixth straight win, revenge at Purdue



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Junior forward Kym Royster, left, and senior forward Amanda Cahill grab a rebound against Illinois February 8 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Cahill and Royster combined for 39 points in IU's 70-54 win against Illinois. Bobby Goddin Buy Photos

The IU women’s basketball team will need to erase its last meeting with Purdue from its memory if it wants similar success when the Hoosiers travel to West Lafayette, Indiana, on Monday.

In the Hoosiers’ last game with the Boilermakers in Bloomington on Jan. 6, IU dominated the entire game and came away with the 72-54 victory.

IU senior forward Amanda Cahill said she knows it’s important to look past what has happened in the past within the rivalry, and to look at Monday’s contest as just another game.

“We have to go in knowing that we’re in their home gym and in front of their home crowd,” Cahill said. “We need to go in with the mindset that we’re already down and need to be fighting the whole game.”

It was the kind of performance IU Coach Teri Moren looks for from her team. The entire starting five came together to play well at the same time, showing just how far a collective effort from this Hoosier squad can go. The Purdue victory was also IU’s first Big Ten win of the season after dropping its first three.

“We did some really good things defensively against them at our place,” Moren said. “I thought we took away their tendencies as best we could, and we obviously hit some shots which helped.”

Despite losing its next three conference games after that, IU now finds themselves on a five-game win streak, bumping its record up to 13-12 on the year and 6-6 in Big Ten play. Meanwhile, Purdue is coming off a devastating 78-74 loss at home against Minnesota, snapping a three-game win streak of its own which included an upset overtime victory over Michigan.

One thing IU will have to focus on is trying to figure out ways to score against Purdue’s tenacious defense, which ranks third in the Big Ten, giving up just 62.3 points per game. Sophomore forward Ae’Rianna Harris plays a big part in that as she currently sits at second in the conference in blocks, averaging 3.1 a game. Sophomore guard Lamina Cooper has also played an integral role around the perimeter by averaging 2.4 steals a game, which is good for fourth most in the Big Ten.

Offensively, senior guard Andreona Keys leads a balanced scoring attack with 13.7 points per game followed by sophomore guard Dominique Oden at 12.8 and Harris, who adds 12.6 points and 8.3 rebounds.

Cooper also contributes 10 points a game of her own while freshman guard Karissa McLaughlin runs the show at the point guard position and averages 9.4 points. McLaughlin is also one of the Big Ten’s best three-point shooters, shooting 36 percent from behind the arc for 10th best in the conference.

While Purdue’s offense isn’t the most potent IU has faced this season, it is efficient. They rank fourth in the Big Ten in both field goal percentage, 45 percent, and three-point field goal percentage, 37 percent. Those numbers have been heightened even more in the past four games as the Boilermakers have raised their field goal percentage to around 55 percent.

“They execute at a really high level and run so much stuff that you can’t really prepare for it all in just two days,” Moren said. “They’re playing with some confidence after that big Michigan win. They stumbled a little bit at home against Minnesota, but they’ll be ready.”

Monday’s matchup will still be a little bit of a grudge match for the Hoosiers, especially for seniors Tyra Buss and Cahill. Purdue was the team to knock IU out of the Big Ten Tournament last season and possibly end the Hoosiers’ hopes of making the NCAA tournament.

Buss and Cahill have also never won at West Lafayette in their four years in Bloomington but with their team on their longest winning streak of the season, they have plenty of momentum to end that drought.

“Mackey Arena is a tough place to play and they have a great crowd, but we’re going in like any other game,” Cahill said. “It might be a little more intense because they’re our rivals but we’re hoping and planning to come out with a win.”

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