The IU women’s basketball team’s last game against Michigan State did not go well for the Hoosiers.
After falling to the Spartans, 68-46, at Assembly Hall on Dec. 28, the 8-12 Hoosiers will look to redeem themselves in East Lansing, Michigan, on Saturday.
Last time out, Michigan State’s stifling defense created an immense amount of problems for IU’s offense. The Hoosiers shot just 16-55 from the field and 6-22 from three-point range.
Senior guard Tyra Buss, IU’s leading scorer at 19.6 points per game, was held to a season-low eight points on 2-11 shooting and 1-7 shooting from behind the arc.
"Everything was a struggle the first time around," IU Coach Teri Moren said. "We were starting our offense with just 14 seconds on the shot clock because of their press. But, we have improved on flowing better offensively as of late."
Senior forward Amanda Cahill said the team has been working on getting into their offense much quicker and making better decisions on what is a good shot and what is a bad shot.
To get a much-needed win Saturday, the Hoosiers will have to find a way to combat Michigan State’s height and depth.
The Spartans have a balanced scoring attack, led by 6-foot-4 junior and Bedford, Indiana, native Jenna Allen.
Allen is one of Michigan State’s leading scorers at 10.6 points per game and scored 14 points in their last contest with IU.
Six-foot-four freshman Sidney Cooks and sophomore guard Shay Colley join Allen as the Spartans’ leading scorers at 10.6 points.
Senior guard Branndais Agee is close behind at 10.4 points per game. She was the Spartans’ top performer last time out against IU as she scored 21 points on 9-13 shooting.
Michigan State will be a tough opponent for the Hoosiers. While IU constantly plays their starters more than 35 minutes every game, they’ll have to deal with a deep Spartans squad that has a number of players 6-foot-3 or taller.
Moren has been allowing Buss and Cahill to take reps off in some practices to allow the two some rest so they can be more fresh come game time, and also more opportunities for her bench to get more reps.
Although IU currently stands at 1-6 in Big Ten play this year, they are coming off some of their best play of the year during a difficult streak, in which they’ve gone up against some of the conference’s best competition.
After getting their first Big Ten win of the season against Purdue at home Jan. 6, the Hoosiers have had three devastating, yet positive losses to ranked opponents.
To build on the Purdue victory, IU followed that up with a down to the wire 84-79 loss at No. 23 Michigan. Then it was a promising performance against No. 10 Ohio State at home in a 77-62 loss.
The Hoosiers are now coming off another close loss after they traveled to No. 14 Maryland where they fell 74-70.
One definite positive the Hoosiers can take into Saturday’s game is the recent play of freshman guard Jaelynn Penn.
In the past two games, Penn has found her shooting touch and is averaging 19 points. While Penn has been stepping up, Moren said she is still looking for more consistency from her entire team.
"I thought Jaelynn played well at Maryland," Moren said. "But we need one of those days like against Purdue where everyone plays well. We are right there. It's just a matter of time."
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