The Northwestern Wildcats (9-14, 2-7 B1G) are in Bloomington for a matchup with the Indiana Hoosiers (11-12, 4-6 B1G), with tipoff slated for 11 AM CT on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s the only meeting this season for the two programs, which split its season series a year ago. Joe McKeown’s Wildcats are scuffling lately, dropping four in a row and six out of seven overall, while former NU assistant Teri Moren’s has won three straight. Here’s three things to know about Indiana.
Turning a corner?
After a program record 23 overall wins and a WNIT quarterfinals appearance in 2016-17, and with plenty of returning starters, Moren’s Hoosiers were a trendy pick to finish in the upper echelon of the Big Ten this season. But things haven’t worked out quite as planned – with only six games left before the postseason, it will be mighty difficult for Indiana to get back to 20 wins for the third straight year. In fairness, the Hoosiers have played a ridiculously tough schedule – sixth-hardest in the country according to them – and have no real quality wins to show for it. Indiana has won three straight, but all three of those wins were against other teams in the bottom half of the conference standings. If the Big Ten Tournament started today, both Indiana and Northwestern would be playing on the first day, so you best believe there is some motivation for both teams to get some wins as the season winds down.
Totally Tyra’s Team
Following her fabulous prep career in Illinois, an Indiana newspaper posited whether incoming Hoosier freshman Tyra Buss was “too good to be true.” In short, yes, she is. Now a senior for the Cream and Crimson, Buss is quite probably the greatest Hoosier ever. The only player in the history of the women’s program to score 2,000 points, she also holds the record for career steals and will break the mark for career assists before the year is out. She is a plus passer and shooter, and excels at getting to the foul line, where she is usually ultra-reliable. She’s a matchup problem for just about anyone, so the matchup with her and Wildcat first-year Jordan Hamilton will be fun to watch.
Elsewhere, Indiana returns stalwarts Amanda Cahill, a forward with both tremendous shooting range and plus rebounding ability, and Kym Royster, a scrappy small forward that continues to improve. The Hoosiers also feature two good freshmen guards in Bendu Yeaney and Jaelynn Penn, the latter of whom has won two straight B1G Freshman of the Week awards. Outside of that, however, the Hoosiers have barely anything in the cupboard – much has been made of Northwestern’s general lack of depth, but Indiana has only three players outside of the five mentioned that play any sort of meaningful minutes.
Tidbits and Trivia
They call Bloomington “the Gateway to Scenic Southern Indiana.” I don’t know who “they” are, but there you have it. It’s the seventh-largest city in the state and is home to the BDSC – that’s the Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center, for all you uninitiated – which provides the flies used in biomedical research nationwide. And you figured Bloomington was just a flyover city.
In notes you care about, the Hoosiers as a team have few impressively good team stats. They’re 9th in the league in both scoring offense and scoring defense, 6th in field goal percentage but dead last in shooting defense. Amanda Cahill is 8th in the conference in rebounding but her team is 11th in rebounding margin. Tyra Buss is 6th in the league in assists and 7th in steals, but doesn’t even crack the leaderboard in terms of assist/turnover ratio. And both Buss and Cahill average over 37 minutes played per game, making them the two most-used players in the conference.
Tipoff from Bloomington is slated for 11 AM, and you can catch our live coverage of it right here in WNURSports.com!