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Tuesday, May 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

Hoosiers end season with loss in first game of Big Ten Tournament

Behind 15 points at halftime to Michigan State (20-10, 11-5), the IU women’s basketball team (6-24, 1-15) faced an uphill battle heading into the second half Thursday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.

But five minutes into the half and five Spartan 3-pointers later, Michigan State blew open the game, ending in a 97-68 loss for the Hoosiers and an end to their 2011-12 season.

After falling behind quick in the first half 8-3 in the opening minutes – including turnovers on the team’s first two possessions, senior guard Alisha Goodwin stormed back with two-straight baskets to move her team within one.

It would never be that close again.

The Spartans then took off, with all three of their first half 3-pointers falling amidst a 13-0 run to take the lead 21-7 with 10:37 left to go in the first half, setting the tone for a game that would fail to see a single-digit deficit the rest of the way.

The Hoosiers would try to battle back to get within 10 points through the help of a 7-1 run, but Michigan State stepped on the gas again to close the half ahead 41-26 on Spartan Porshe Poole’s jumper at the first half buzzer.

But after keeping the Spartans within 15 points during the opening minutes of the second half, Poole and her teammates exploded with six-straight 3-pointers without a miss during less than six minutes, and the Michigan State lead ballooned from 15 points to 29 with 11:43 left in the game, a run that IU Coach Felisha Legette-Jack called “silly.”

“I thought we played silly basketball because I thought that it was very easy to find [Taylor Alton] since she was coming up the trail,” Legette-Jack said.  “And we needed to adjust to where she was.  And she hit those first two 3s and it was like: Prove it.  

“She shoots 80 percent from behind the arc.  She’s four of five from the free-throw line.  She’s not coming in.  That should have been an easy stop for us.”

The Spartans would lead by as many as 35 in the second half, and IU would never make much of a comeback as the Hoosiers’ top scoring threat junior forward Aulani Sinclair was held to just one basket in the second half and four points on the night.

“I know Aulani was hurting tonight,” Legette-Jack said.  “I know she wants a do-over for this game, but there’s no do-overs in the game of basketball.  It’s all about the next game, but there’s no next games all summer long.

“I hope she’ll let this one burn a little bit because no one can stop Aulani but Aulani.  She’s good enough.  We had plays for her, and she didn’t come through as much as she should have.”

Goodwin, playing in her last collegiate game, led Indiana with 16 points – her season high – including a 6-of-13 night from the floor with one 3-pointer.

Indiana’s other senior, forward Danilsa Andujar scored two points along with one rebound in her final game in the cream and crimson.

Freshman center Quaneisha McCurty tossed in 15 points along with a team-leading four rebounds and a 7-for-9 night from the charity stripe. McCurty’s freshman counterpart, guard Candyce Ussery tied a season high she set in the final regular season game of the season against Purdue, scoring 10 points, all of them coming in the second half, including two 3-pointers.

Indiana finished the season on a 1-16 skid, and amidst the string of losses, Legette-Jack summed up the Hoosier’s final loss of the season simply.

“We had a lot of things in our tank to throw at them, but everything we threw at them, they were ready,” Legette-Jack said.

“Tonight, the best team won.”

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