IU women’s basketball has not lost a game since March 2. With six wins in the WNIT to close out last season and eight straight wins to begin this season, IU owns the longest winning streak in the nation.
Next up for the team is Missouri State University — a 1-5 team from Springfield, Missouri.
In the only matchup between the two, which took place in 1998, IU defeated Missouri State 63-60. Twenty years later, here are three things to know before the teams clash at noon Sunday.
Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall has been home sweet home for IU.
While IU owns the nation’s longest win streak, it also owns the eighth-longest win streak in home games. After defeating Butler 66-46 Wednesday, the team has won 16 straight games at Assembly Hall.
Five of those wins have come this season, six came from last year’s WNIT tournament and five came from the conclusion of Big Ten regular season play last season.
The split numbers for home and away are not much different for IU as the team averages 71 points per game on the road while averaging 76.6 at home.
However, junior forward Brenna Wise's statistics have been much stronger at home. Wise averages 16.8 points per game at home — highlighted by a 22-point, 11-rebound double-double against Butler, while scoring just more than 11 points per game on the road.
IU will want a win Sunday in particular because the next home game will not be until Dec. 31 against Penn State University.
Missouri State’s record is deceiving.
Four of Missouri State’s losses have come on the road, but the 0-4 record does not do the team justice.
Despite what the record reflects, the team has only been outscored by a total of 18 points on the road, with the biggest loss coming in an 83-76 overtime loss at the University of North Texas.
In its only matchup with a top-25 opponent, Missouri State lost to then-No. 16 University of Missouri 65-61.
The 2005 WNIT champions have forced 17 turnovers per game, which could pose a problem to an IU team that averages just more than 16 per game. Sophomore Jaelynn Penn could be key in securing the ball for IU, as her 29 turnovers are the most on the team, nine of which have come in the past two games.
IU’s defense is key to its offense.
Aside from a poor 32-point performance by Oakland University on Nov. 11, the 46 points IU allowed Butler University to score were the lowest this season.
The Bulldogs shot less than 30 percent from the field while turning the ball over 18 times. If not for the 18 turnovers IU had, the 20-point margin could have been even larger.
But what could be most important about IU’s defense is its ability to create the offense. IU Coach Teri Moren said she wants the team to push the tempo and can often be seen on the sidelines yelling for her team to pick up the pace.
“Our defense creates our offense,” Wise said after the win against Butler. “We’d like to have a good offensive and defensive end and be able to put two and two together.”
Especially against zone defenses, Moren and her team have looked to push the ball so the opponent cannot get its defense set.
But regardless of whether or not Missouri State decides to run a zone, fans can expect to see guards like Patberg, Penn or sophomore Bendu Yeaney running up court looking to score quickly off a stop on the defensive end.
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