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Easy Breezy spurs IU women’s basketball to win


Sophomore forward Bre Wickware scores against North Texas. IU played North Texas on Tuesday at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall and won 68-63. Ty Vinson Buy Photos

Easy breezy. 

No, that doesn’t correlate to the fashion in which the IU women’s basketball team closed out North Texas on Tuesday.

It’s a reference to sophomore reserve forward Bre Wickware, nicknamed Breezy by her teammates and coaches, who came off the bench in the fourth quarter to help the Hoosiers secure a 68-63 victory and snap a three-game losing streak.

Wickware logged just 14 minutes in the game, but made the most of her opportunity at playing time when she got in.

“She did exactly what her team needed her to do to win,” IU Coach Teri Moren said. “She took high percentage shots, was very sound defensively and came up with big rebounds down the stretch.”

Wickware received spot minutes in the first half, but when freshmen guards Bendu Yeaney and Jaelynn Penn got into foul trouble, she was forced into action in the fourth quarter. 

It was already a tough stretch for the Hoosiers at that point, as they had squandered away their 13-point halftime lead. By the time Wickware got in with 6:31 left in the contest, the Hoosiers trailed the Mean Green 59-56.

Within less than two minutes, she made an immediate impact. After finding an open junior forward Kym Royster down low with an assist from the high post, she was found streaking down court for an open fast break layup by freshman Keyanna Warthen after a North Texas miss on the other end.

Wickware had spurred a four-point swing that regained a 60-59 lead for IU.

From there, she continued her stellar play by nailing a big mid-range jumper with two and half minutes left and playing disruptive, versatile defense on the other end.

When she snagged a late-game rebound leading to a game-sealing free throw from senior Tyra Buss with 16 seconds left, Wickware had finished what she said she had set out to do.

She did everything her team needed to win.

“I think for me right now, I’m at the point where I just do whatever I’m asked,” Wickware said. “I’m going to maximize my minutes in whatever way I need for us to be successful as a team.”

Wickware said she came in wanting to play well in a game full of personal meaning. The Denton, Texas, native had plenty of past teammates on her home school’s roster.

“Anytime you beat somebody from home, it’s kind of like a personal rivalry,” Wickware said. “I was glad we put that away because as a team with our losing streak right now, we needed that.”

It’s been just as rough of a stretch for Wickware in the last three games as it has been for the Hoosiers as a whole. During their three-game slide, Wickware played just nine minutes which all came in the Hoosiers’ first loss against Saint Mary’s. 

If anything, her minutes Tuesday were important in boosting her confidence moving forward.

“I just needed to get in and do whatever my team needs and it proved successful with the matchups we had,” Wickware said. “I was really happy with the way I was able to provide for us.”

It was just four points, two rebounds and an assist from Wickware but they were imperative to IU closing out North Texas who surged in the second half.

It was a night in which the Hoosiers’ seniors in Buss (26 points) and Amanda Cahill (15 points, 12 rebounds) led the way. However, Wickware, along with freshmen Warthen and Linsey Marchese, led a promising second unit effort with two of IU’s starters in foul trouble.

Moren said it was a good sign for her team moving forward after struggling with depth problems all season.

“We know depth is an issue for us,” Moren said. “I’m happy that our bench came in in a big way and helped us get this win.” 

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