IU Coach Teri Moren doesn’t care who her team is playing Saturday at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
Even though the Hoosiers will face off with an in-state rival in Purdue, Moren said the name on the other team isn't important, but a win is.
“It’s a rivalry game because it’s Purdue, but it could be the Sisters of the Poor walking in here tomorrow and it wouldn’t matter," Moren said. "We need a win. We have to show up and it doesn’t matter if it says Purdue across the chest or anybody else. We better have a lot of motivation.”
IU comes into the game at 7-9 on the season and 0-3 in conference play after a two-game road trip that saw losses to both Ohio State and Penn State.
At Ohio State, the Hoosiers suffered an 85-70 beat down by the Buckeyes. While they struggled to get things going offensively, junior forward Kym Royster’s promising performance was one of the few bright spots of the game. She finished with a career-high 22 points to go along with eight rebounds in her most productive outing of the year.
After that, the Hoosiers traveled to University Park, Pennsylvania, and lost a heart-breaker. They fell 77-74 to the Lady Lions after their comeback from 15 points down in the fourth quarter fell just short.
However, senior guard Tyra Buss did manage to break Denise Jackson’s all-time IU women’s scoring record in the loss. Her layup in the third quarter gave her 1,918 career points to break the original mark set by Jackson back in 1983-84.
Despite the highs and lows of their road trip, a win at home in the rivalry game against Purdue is much-needed for the struggling Hoosier squad.
“I think we’re going to come out with a lot of energy,” Buss said. “We’re playing our arch-rival in Purdue so we’re really excited about that and we’re pumped up.”
Meanwhile, Purdue comes into the contest 10-6 on the season and 1-1 in the conference as they come off their first conference victory of the year in a 57-35 trouncing of Wisconsin in West Lafayette.
Senior guard Andreona Keys leads a balanced scoring attack, averaging 12.9 points on the year. Sophomore forward Ae’Rianna Harris is close behind at 12.5 points to go along 8.8 rebounds and a second-best in the Big Ten 3.4 blocks.
Other scoring threats for Purdue will be sophomore guards Dominique Oden (10.8) and Lamina Cooper (10.3) and sweet-shooting freshman guard Karissa McLaughlin (9.3)
Much like IU, Purdue lacks much depth off the bench but it’s their defense, not their offense, that will prove to be the biggest challenge for the Hoosiers.
The Boilermakers pride themselves on a stingy defense that gives up just 60.6 points per game, which is good for third-best in the Big Ten.
Purdue also plays a large amount of zone defense, which IU has struggled against for much of this season.
While the Boilermakers will try to push the Hoosiers away from the basket and force them to shoot from the outside, Moren said it’s nothing her team won’t already be expecting.
“I don’t know if they’re intentionally coming in here to play Indiana in a zone because that’s what they’ve shown in their first couple of Big Ten games,” Moren said. “I think they’ll change some things up just to keep us off-balance but I would suspect to see a lot of 3-2 zone.”
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