It was the second quarter of the IU women’s basketball team’s season opener against Arkansas State, and Tyra Buss had one foul.
One foul might not seem like much, but it is for the senior point guard. With only a little freshman depth behind her at the position, Coach Teri Moren and the Hoosiers know they can’t afford their star to get in foul trouble.
In this particular situation, Buss found herself mismatched in the post guarding Arkansas State senior guard Ogo Obinabo, who is several inches taller than Buss, and was putting Buss in danger of getting her second foul before halftime.
Then, with flawless execution, IU senior forward Amanda Cahill came to the rescue by switching off of her player on the wing and taking Buss’ position inside to bang with the fellow post players down low.
“That was our game plan, a 1-4 switch, so I knew I was going to be down low sometimes when Amanda and I would switch on ball screens," Buss said. "My job is to front the post, and Amanda will switch when she sees that. I’ve played with her for the last three years, so that’s kind of impeccable now.”
A switch might not be the most memorable play in a game that saw both Buss (28 points, 11 assists) and Cahill (13 points, 12 rebounds) record double-doubles for the Hoosiers, but it was a good example of the little things that Cahill and the rest of IU’s veteran bigs excel at.
“It’s a toughness thing,” Moren said. “We were a little undersized tonight, but it really all comes down to your determination and your heart and hustle.”
Cahill’s efforts did show up in the box score as she was able to record her 28th career double-double in the Hoosiers’ 93-51 victory Saturday. Nine of Cahill’s 13 points came off of the large number of open three pointers she got from screening, popping and rolling to perfection.
After a slow start in the first half for the senior in which she had only 5 points on 1-5 shooting from deep, Moren said she wasn’t surprised she bounced back with a big second half.
“She had a couple of opportunities in the first half, but she started to become a little passive,” Moren said. “It was great to see in the second half that she came out and knocked down a few like she normally does. I thought that was great for her confidence but I’m not surprised.”
Junior Kim Royster also had a big game for IU by chipping in 10 points, six rebounds and two blocks. She filled her role well in Moren’s offense by planting herself at the free-throw line, letting cutters run off of her and when given the chance, knocking down the mid-range jumper she’s been working on in the offseason.
However, Moren said it was the things Royster did defensively that didn’t show up in the box score that she was most impressed with.
“The things that didn’t show up were how well Kym battled on the block today,” Moren said. “I thought she did a tremendous job as the anchor to what we want to do defensively.”
Sophomore froward Bre Wickware also started the season strong by providing energy off the bench, scoring nine points and grabbing three rebounds of her own. Five of her nine points came off of an improved jump shot, as she splashed a three pointer and a long two in the second half.
Although IU’s fast-paced offense looks to be tailored more toward high-scoring guards, Moren said the things that go unnoticed by the average fan are just as important to their success.
Cahill, Royster and Wickware were able to come through in that department in the season opener.
“I think you always have to do the little things,” Moren said. “Little things make the big things happen.”
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