People headed to the Hall on Sunday, not the 14,124 of them needed to break the attendance record for an on-campus women’s game in the state of Indiana, but 8,136, which is easily a season high by over 5,000 fans.
They didn’t get to see a fine showing by the men’s team, which had its game at Michigan State shown on the scoreboard’s big screen, but did get to see a fine display from the women’s team, which never trailed in a 79-67 victory over Penn State.
â€œThose are our guys,” said Hoosier coach Felisha Legette-Jack of the men’s outcome and how it carried over into her game. “I donâ€™t want to take credit when theyâ€™re doing bad. If theyâ€™re hurting, weâ€™re hurting, and we never want to get energy because theyâ€™re down. Iâ€™m glad that we can do something thatâ€™s positive so some attention can be off of them, because theyâ€™ve been carrying us for a very long time. They lost one game, and Iâ€™d rather lose that kind of game than lose by one. Those hurt a little bit deeper.â€
Hoosier senior guard Nikki Smith hit for 17 points in the game, including a 3-pointer on the game’s very first possession. It was her last regular season game on Branch McCracken Court and could be the very last if the team doesn’t host a WNIT game. She got to address the good-sized crowd with her Senior Day speech, encouraging the masses to keep coming to Assembly Hall in the future to watch her younger teammates, including a solid freshman class, continue to mold the program into a winner.
With the completion of the Big Ten season on Sunday, the bracket has been announced for the conference tournament beginning on Thursday. The Hoosiers (17-13, 10-8) did not earn a first-round bye, but as the sixth seed will face Northwestern (5-25, 1-17) on the event’s first day, following the first game between Michigan and Penn State. In all liklihood, Indiana would probably have to reach the championship game to stay in consideration for an at-large NCAA Tournament berth. And that means getting by nemesis Purdue in the second round.