It felt like Indiana women’s basketball’s game against Western Michigan University on Sunday simply didn’t want to start.
Neither of Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall’s shot clocks were operational by the time of the game’s intended tip-off at 1 p.m. This led to the basketball band drumming and the crowd clapping for multiple minutes as they waited for the Hoosiers to exit the tunnel, which simply didn’t happen.
They were instead met by the booming voice of Chuck Crabb, the legendary voice of Assembly Hall, over the loudspeakers informing those gathered of the shot clock issues. The crowd was treated to a 30-minute delay and a broadcast of Michigan playing against Baylor University.
When the shot clocks were finally fixed, viewers at home were treated to what I hesitate to refer to as a broadcast. Western Michigan’s players were wearing grey uniforms with a black trim, which didn’t include the school’s colors of brown or gold. Indiana was wearing its typical home whites, which I’m sure looked distinctive and visible against the gray of Western Michigan.
You’d think that between the delay and the clashing uniforms, viewers at home could at least look forward to the commentary, right? Wrong. There wasn’t any. The Hoosiers may as well have been playing in space with the eerie silence viewers at home had to deal with.
Things kept going wrong in some way or another. In the first quarter, Western Michigan tried to have a player check in, only to find out she didn’t have a jersey and needed to return to the Broncos’ locker room to retrieve one.
There was a wedgie on Western Michigan’s part when the ball got stuck between the backboard and the rim before a man in an IU polo shirt heroically leapt up to the rim with the grace of a ballerina to knock it back out.
Now onto the mistakes that actually mattered on the court.
Indiana let Western Michigan hang around in the first half, taking a 33-27 lead as teams headed back into the locker room.
All of those points came without sophomore guard Lauren Ross, Western Michigan’s leading scorer, on the floor. Ross was on the bench with an unspecified issue, but senior forward Reilly Jacobson contributed 12 of the team’s 27 first-half points in her stead.
Western Michigan was aggressive beyond the arc, shooting 13 3-pointers in the first half alone, only 4 of which were successful. When the shots didn’t fall, Indiana was there to pick them up, outrebounding Western Michigan 24-12 in the first half.
The viewers at home were finally treated to the luxury of a score bug at the beginning of the second half. Not only that, but the Hoosiers scored 14 unanswered points to open the third quarter.
Western Michigan finally took a 3-pointer with four minutes remaining, but Indiana once again increased its lead to 20 points thanks to free throws from senior guard Grace Berger.
Although it allowed Western Michigan to creep back into the game in the fourth quarter, Indiana sealed the deal thanks to strong rebounding and scoring when it needed to. Junior forward Mackenzie Holmes and sophomore forward Kiandra Browne alone equaled Western Michigan’s 29 total rebounds.
Now, let us do our best to forget that this mistake-ridden game ever happened. Indiana has a stretch of games it has no business losing: Wright State University on Tuesday and Southern Illinois University on Thursday.
Indiana would do well to take this game as a lesson. It cannot afford to take its next few lightly.