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Monday, May 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

Column: Schedule favorable for young Hoosiers

High expectations and sub-par results should be a thing of the past for the Indiana women’s basketball team. However, it must first buy into IU Coach Felisha Legette-Jack’s message of playing “fun, physical basketball.”

At a recent morning practice, it was apparent the players were having fun. Every player was smiling and high-fiving, and the team morale was through the roof of Assembly Hall — exactly what a team needs coming off a 9-20 season.

“It’s easy to keep our team focused after last season where we only won nine games,” Legette-Jack said. “They’ve done nothing thus far, and they’re hungry to be successful.”

Time will tell if the 2011-12 Hoosiers are more physical, but sit down with Legette-Jack for five minutes and you will see that this season could special if they find all the right pieces to the puzzle.

“Last year was absolutely not good enough,” Legette-Jack said. “(Our players) trust me, and I trust them. Together, we have to be willing to change and, together, we are going to find a way to win.”

The Hoosiers concluded their exhibition slate last night at Assembly Hall and now turn their focus to the regular season.

The first piece to the puzzle for having a successful season is taking advantage of their soft non-conference schedule.

IU will face 13 opponents before heading into Big Ten play. If IU can play smart, physical basketball, expect the Hoosiers to be in the upper half of the conference heading into Big Ten season. Anything less than nine wins would be a big disappointment.

IU must also find success on Branch McCracken Court. The Hoosiers were a dismal 4-10 inside Assembly Hall last year and that must change immediately. Home wins will be key this season, as IU plays 16 of their 29 games on the road. The Hoosiers should be able to win eight games at home but will need more home wins if they struggle on the road.

The missing puzzle piece IU must locate is finding who will step up to replace Jori Davis, Hope Elam and Whitney Lindsey, who all exhausted their eligibility last season.

“You don’t replace those seniors,” Legette-Jack said. “We have to try and continue the process of creating a foundation for our team, and I love our players’ energy and spirit.”

Indiana has a young roster, and they must rely on a newcomer, junior Jasmine McGhee.

The Hoosiers must also turn to junior Aulani Sinclair for scoring success. She is the team’s top returning scorer from last season.

The final piece of the puzzle will be to find a way to eliminate the team from so many close-game situations.

Last year’s drama-filled season had 17 contests decided by less than 10 points. IU won only six of those games, and the numbers show why they struggled. 

IU was outrebounded by 4.7 rebounds per game, which led to the Hoosiers being outscored by 5.7 points.

“We have a good group of kids and they realize a lot went wrong last year, but they are ready to get better,” Legette-Jack said.

The Hoosiers must remain focused and piece together the puzzle as the season progresses. Legette-Jack said it is a “day-to-day task.”

“Tomorrow is not promised,” she said. “The most important day is today. If we start to look ahead, we are going to be in trouble. However, if we stay grounded, I think we will prosper.”

Legette-Jack said she believes there will soon be another banner in the rafters — one that reads, “Women’s National Champions.”

“If we win a national title, not just the country, but the whole world will know our story,” Legette-Jack said. “That is the platform we need to be on.”

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