Indiana Daily Student

Junior guard Alexis Gassion contributes offensively and defensively

Junior guard Alexis Gassion goes up to the basket to score a layup. Gassion scored 16 points against Minnesota to help the Hoosiers win 93-79 Thursday night at Assembly Hall.
Junior guard Alexis Gassion goes up to the basket to score a layup. Gassion scored 16 points against Minnesota to help the Hoosiers win 93-79 Thursday night at Assembly Hall.

IU Coach Teri Moren said it’s going to be difficult to find a better candidate for Big Ten Player of the Year than Minnesota guard Rachel 

The senior came to Bloomington with the Golden Gophers after tying the NCAA single-game record for points (60) against Northwestern and hitting a buzzer-beating three-pointer to beat Iowa.

Banham is the most decorated player to come to Assembly Hall this season, and Moren said she knew it.

That’s why she put junior guard Alexis Gassion on her., and she limted Banahm in IU’s 93-79 win against 

“I thought Lex Gassion did a terrific job on Banham,” Moren said. “Keeping her to nine first-half points was big. The second half was just Banham being Banham.”

Gassion came into the matchup having guarded the most potent Wisconsin scorer in Nicole Bauman on Sunday, limiting her to eight points after Bauman posted 24 in the teams’ first matchup.

Moren praised the guard’s defensive efforts then, and she did again Thursday.

Banham, who averages 26 points per game, scored a quiet 29.

She couldn’t make much of a dent in the Hoosier lead throughout the second half while going into what Moren called “takeover mode.”

Gassion played tight against the guard all the way through the first half but found foul trouble in the second half.

This allowed Banham to find some space in the Hoosier defense to convert six of her 13 second-half field goals.

Nine free throws would assist the record holder to 29 points in the game, while Gassion played most of the third quarter with three fouls and most of the fourth with four.

Being known as the scorer on the team heading into the 2015-16 season, Gassion has shown her defensive prowess in the last two games. When asked about it, she said the coaches have confidence in her and her athletic ability.

But sophomore guard Tyra Buss interrupted.

“Not only do the coaches have a lot of confidence in her, but we have a lot of confidence in her,” Buss said. “We’re so proud of her tonight. I don’t care that Banham had 29 points. Those were a tough 29 points.”

Gassion not only got the job done on the defensive end, but she also came through for the Hoosiers when she was needed on the offensive end, too.

As Banham scored a quick five points to bring the Gophers within five of the Hoosiers late in the fourth quarter, Gassion drove to the basket.

The guard put her shoulder in the chest of the Minnesota defender and floated the ball into the basket while being fouled.

Assembly Hall reached its loudest point when Gassion hit her and-1 free throw to convert the 3-point play and pull IU out of reach for the rest of the game.

“I thought if I had to do it on the defensive end I might as well do it on the offensive end,” Gassion said. “I knew we were struggling offensively trying to get a score, so something had to be done.”

Moren said while 29 points is a lot of points on a stat sheet, keeping Banham out of rhythm was an integral part in keeping the guard from doing damage in a game that earned IU rights to third place in the conference.

“A big-time player makes big-time shots,” Moren said. “But I thought Lex did a terrific job.”

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