sports   |   women's basketball

IU can't find reasons for drop in standings


Freshman guard Ashlee Mells charges into the lane during the Hoosiers 71-65 loss to Michigan State Thursday evening at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers face Wisconsin on the road today in Madison, Wisc.. Brandon Foltz Buy Photos

After a day off, the Hoosiers (15-8, 8-6) returned to practice Saturday in preparation for tonight’s trip to Madison to face Wisconsin (15-10, 5-9). But the Hoosiers’ four-game losing streak still weighed on their minds.

“Everybody is just disappointed,” senior Whitney Thomas said. “We want to win. This is the time of year you need to win. We want those wins, so we knew we had to get back today and work hard.”

Earlier in the year, the IU women’s basketball team won nine consecutive games and seven of its first eight conference matchups.

The 7-1 start in the Big Ten represented the best in the program’s history.

Going 1-5 in the past six games, IU coach Felisha Legette-Jack said the team will not give up.

“We are going to stay true to who we are,” Legette-Jack said. “Boxing out, rebounding, playing great defense. And whatever the chips are, we are going to have to deal with them. We certainly won’t quit in the middle of the race.”

Legette-Jack said there is really no reason why the team has dropped from first to sixth in the Big Ten.

“No explanation,” she said. “You put the ball in the hole is the explanation. We hold a team down to 57 points, and we got to score baskets.”

The stat that jumps off the page during the Hoosiers four-game losing streak is field goal percentage. In the first five games of the Big Ten schedule – a stretch in which IU went 4-1 – the team shot 45.4 percent from the field.

In the last four losses, they have shot 30.1 percent.

Legette-Jack said the field goal percentage is out of the team’s control. Instead, she said she would like the women to focus on defense, boxing out, running hard down the floor and increased energy.

“One thing we are not going to worry about it what we can’t control,” Legette-Jack said. “Yeah, we shoot 30 percent. We certainly want to shoot 80 percent, but we’re not right now. But we are going to stay focused on our defense.”

A month has passed since the Hoosiers beat the Badgers 64-61 in Bloomington. After the victory, the team had a 5-1 record in the conference, but won just three of its next eight games.

For the team, with only four regular season games left, time is running out to achieve its goal: making the NCAA tournament.

“Everyone is playing for keeps right now,” Thomas said. “Either you do it now or you will be watching other teams play in the post-season. Everybody needs to pick it up.”

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