Last season the IU women’s basketball program took a major step forward.
The Hoosiers won over 20 games, thanks in large part to its undefeated, 14-0 record in Assembly Hall. Now, in IU Coach Teri Moren’s third season in Bloomington, the Hoosiers will look to keep that success going. This time, the stress will be on the defensive end of the floor.
Moren and company will try to take that a step forward and are honing in on their defense to take them there.
“The consistency factor we’re always looking for,” Moren said. “Having a veteran team helps with that area, especially with those young kids that are still getting used to our system defensively.”
The Hoosiers are coming off a season in which they were fifth in the conference in scoring defense, giving up 68.0 points per game. Coming into this season, the team is picked to finish third by both the news media and the coaches.
Not a whole lot has changed.The team lost just one player from last season and the way it goes about things on the floor shouldn’t drastically change. The Hoosiers play at a fast pace on offense and stress defense.
“It’s not going to be any different than anything we’ve done in the past,” Moren said. “We just have to understand that every night is going to be a grind to win a game in the Big Ten and in our non-conference.”
From the player’s point of view, junior guard Tyra Buss said she knows Moren stresses defense. The offense could look to improve after finishing ninth in the conference with 71.5 points per game.
Defense is what will help IU take the next step. Buss said getting comfortable with what Coach Moren wants out of them will help the Hoosiers progress.
“That’s one of Coach Moren’s biggest things is on the defensive end,” Buss said. “We’ve really done that in practices, kind of mixed up defenses a lot. Getting to know what we want from the defensive end and what she wants from us is what we’ve been trying to do.”
Moren came into the program two seasons ago and changed the mentality. They went through growing pains in the first season finishing 15-16, but saw a significant improvement a season ago.
What will help this team in 2016-17 is that there hasn’t been a whole lot of change. There hasn’t been much change on the floor nor with the philosophy.
“Our mentality has always been, we said this when we got here, we were going to hang our hats on the defensive end and rebounding,” Moren said. “That philosophy hasn’t changed at all since we got here.”