Indiana Daily Student

Cahill's consistency leading IU to possible tournament berth

Sophomore foward Amanda Cahill goes after the loose the ball during the game against Illinois on Wednesday at Assembly Hall.
Sophomore foward Amanda Cahill goes after the loose the ball during the game against Illinois on Wednesday at Assembly Hall.

IU sophomore forward Amanda Cahill hasn’t scored 60 points in a game this season like Minnesota’s Rachel Banham did Sunday against Northwestern.

She isn’t scoring 24.7 points per game for the No. 7 team in the country, like Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell is doing.

While she won’t be in the discussion for a Player of the Year award, Cahill has filled IU’s need for consistency en route to putting the Hoosiers in the running for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in years.

The 6-foot-2 forward earned a seventh double-double this season in Sunday's 59-47 win against Nebraska.

Cahill tallied 16 points, 14 rebounds and five assists against the Huskers in a win that was the Hoosiers’ fifth in six games.

The Ohio native has been held to single-digit scoring totals in just two games this season against Georgia Tech and IU-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

“She’s a terrific player,” Moren said Sunday. “Terrific IQ, coach’s kid. She just kind of figures it out. She’s sound in a lot of ways, and her and Tyra do more things better than they do to hurt us.”

Cahill’s consistency is not a new attribute for the sophomore. In her freshman season, Cahill averaged 10.8 points and 7.7 rebounds. She was the only freshman in the Big Ten to do so while shooting 77.5 percent from the free throw line.

Cahill produced six double-double games for the Hoosiers in 2014-15, a mark that has already been eclipsed in her sophomore season with six games remaining.

“Just trying my best,” Cahill said of the key to her consistency. “Helping my teammates find me on looks, being aggressive while rebounding on the defensive and offensive end. That’s something we need as a team — rebounds. The scoring will come, but I think the rebounding is important.”

Despite ranking among the top-15 Big Ten players in both 3-point and field-goal percentage, IU Coach Teri Moren said Cahill isn’t caught up in the rapid pace of her success.

“She’s a funny kid because she’s not just a great teammate, but she doesn’t get caught up in individual accolades or awards, points, any of that,” Moren said before the season. "She’s more concerned with what’s more important for the group, what’s good for the team. The one thing about Cahill is that she’s always going to do what we ask her to do and be really, really good.”

Cahill’s consistent sophomore season was not unexpected by her teammates. Junior guard Karlee McBride, who has had a resurgence of her own in claiming a starting spot, predicted her teammate would play well for IU.

“Everybody needs to watch out for her this year because she is definitely gonna kill it out there,” McBride said preseason. “Even if she’s in the guard position, I feel that she’s going to do really well. She’s just a beast. I can’t even explain it.”

Cahill’s ability to compete both down low and around the perimeter is what has separated her from the other 6-foot-2 forwards in the league. This year, Cahill has converted 28 3-pointers at a rate of 39 percent, which is good for fourth on the Hoosiers.

The duo of Cahill and sophomore guard Tyra Buss has lead to one of the best starts to the Big Ten season in recent memory. The Hoosiers, at 15-9 and 7-5 in the Big Ten, were projected as a 10-seed in this week’s ESPN’s Bracketology. 

IU has not qualified for the NCAA Tournament since the 2001-02 season after multiple trips to the WNIT, as recent as 2013-14.

“There’s a tremendous amount of trust with me, our staff and her teammates that we have in Cahill,” Moren said. “Any time she touches the ball, more than likely something good is going to happen.”

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