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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

IU faces MSU to start Big Ten Tournament

Is the third time the charm for IU women’s basketball?

After falling to Michigan State (19-10, 11-5) twice this season, IU (6-23, 1-15) will face the Spartans in the first round of the Big Ten tournament Thursday. Tipoff is set for 25 minutes after the end of the Minnesota vs. Wisconsin game, ideally 8:25 p.m. Games will take place at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

IU Coach Felisha Legette-Jack said her squad will need more than a cliché to win.
“It is what it is,” she said. “We played against a team last year twice, and they got us twice, and we thought the third time would be the charm, but it didn’t work out.”

IU’s first loss against the Spartans came Dec. 30, 2011, at home in the game that began the Hoosiers’ 14-game losing streak. The second matchup came Jan. 12 in East Lansing, Mich., resulting in a 67-47 win for Michigan State.

Junior forward Aulani Sinclair said she is optimistic IU can start the tournament fresh.
“The Big Tens are always a time when everybody’s slates are clean,” Sinclair said. “It’s anyone’s opportunity to win, and we’ve just got to take it one game at a time and give it our best to move on.”

One of the injuries Legette-Jack alluded to is that of junior guard Jasmine McGhee, who will not play in the tournament after leading the team in scoring with 12.6 points per game before injuring her foot.

Sinclair has since taken the scoring load for IU. In her past, five games, Sinclair averaged 18 points per game.

Still, Legette-Jack said she wishes McGhee could be on the court in Indianapolis.
“It’s tough,” she said. “She’s been doing some really good things and had been starting to get into a rhythm, and that’s tough, but you know you’ve got to deal with the elements.”

If IU wins its game against Michigan State, the Hoosiers will move on to face No. 21 Purdue on Friday. If IU wins that game, they could face the Big Ten regular season champion Penn State on Saturday.

“Our conference is so good,” she said. “There are probably seven teams that could possibly go to the (NCAA) tournament. There’s no easy side to our tournament, but we’re just blessed that all teams can go and get that opportunity, and it’s all about bringing our game or going home now.”

Despite IU’s 12th-place ranking in the tournament, Sinclair is embracing her team’s spot in the bracket.

“A lot of people are doubting us, but we don’t have anything to lose,” she said. “We’re the underdogs now, so we’re just going to continue fighting and give it everything
we have.”

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