In the last three games IU has gotten off to slow first starts. In IU's game against North Texas on Tuesday, the Hoosiers went for the knockout early.
Holding North Texas (6-2) to 14 points in both the first and second quarters, IU (5-4) dropped 21 and 20 to take a 13-point lead heading into halftime.
Then the second half happened, and North Texas clawed back and nearly handed IU a fourth-straight loss.
Due to foul trouble, freshmen guards Bendu Yeaney and Jaelynn Penn were on the bench in the fourth quarter, leaving freshman guard Keyanna Warthen and sophomore forward Bre Wickware to step in and play down the stretch for the first time this season.
“We know that depth is an issue for us,” IU Coach Teri Moren said. “So, we’ve continued to talk to (our bench) about the minutes they can provide and what their rolls are. It was great to see tonight, they helped us get this win.”
Wickware, who hasn’t played in the last two games, said that when she gets subbed in she doesn’t try to overplay to show her talent because that’s not her game. She said that she just does what the team needs her to do.
She had two big buckets towards the end of the game to keep IU in the lead.
Senior guard Tyra Buss had one of those big buckets with 20 seconds left when her team was up just two.
Buss first tried to get it into the post to junior Kim Royster, but when North Texas shielded her off, Buss aggressively took it into the lane and banked in a floater to get the 67-63 advantage.
In the last two outings, Buss has struggled, but tonight she was able to drop 26 points.
“I haven’t been as aggressive as of late,” Buss said. “I just wanted to attack downhill and see the ball go through the hoop and not settle for outside shots.”
Buss passed Cyndi Valentin for sixth all-time on the IU scoring list, she is now 42 points from becoming number five.
Her senior partner, forward Amanda Cahill, also had s strong game with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Cahill also reached a milestone with her 900th career rebound.
“You have to talk about both of them in the same sentence because of what they’ve done for our program,” Moren said about Cahill and Buss. “We knew that going into this year that there would be some records broken.”
Despite the win and some milestones, IU still turned the ball over 21 times. Moren said that they aren’t going to keep winning games if the team continues to play like that.
“We’ve got to figure out how to clean that up,” Moren said. “We are careless. We show them everyday and we’ll continue to show them because a lot of them are on us.”
The five turnovers in the fourth quarter were almost reminiscent of how IU, after battling back against Lousiville and Auburn, let the games slip away. IU was able to remain calm, though, and pick up its first win in four games.
“Every play matters,” Buss said. “We needed to get stops and I thought we did at the end of the game. We were just sticking together and fighting as one team.”
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