Serf’s up for Hoosiers…and more

Hoosier walk-on Lydia Serfling is taking her time with it, but she’s gradually filling up Indiana’s season stats sheet.

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Before Thursday’s 74-52 win over Northwestern, the Bloomington North alum had totaled 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 foul, and 1 turnover. Now, after playing a season-high seven minutes, she’s altered some more of the zeros on the eve of Friday’s quarterfinal tilt with Purdue, adding 1-of-2 shot attempts and recording her first two career points. She called for the ball from Jori Davis, caught it and stepped just inside the 3-point arc, nailing a jumper with 4:33 left in the game.

“Oh, I mean, it’s nice, but it took all my teammates just to get that, so it’s really just team points I guess,” Serfling said. “It’s my teammates that got me there, and they’re the ones that got that huge lead for us. I just shot because I’m open. Just part of the gameplan.”

Davis continued to impress in her fourth game back since missing two-thirds of the conference season with a stress fracture injury. The freshman had 14 points and 3 steals against the Wildcats.

“Jori brings something that you can’t see as far as the physicality of it,” Hoosier coach Felisha Legette-Jack said last week. “She brings that energy, that ‘I believe in you,’ that ‘Don’t worry about it, I’m gonna try harder to make things happen.’ She brings you the Whitney Thomas’s, the Jamie Brauns, and the Kim Roberson and Ambers (Jackson), all into one. Because her allegiance is about the win. It’s not about anything else.”

Jamie Braun was held scoreless on Thursday for the second time in her career (64 games), but she still grabbed some boards, dished out 5 assists, and had 3 steals.

“Unfortunately for us, everybody else on the team stepped up,” said Northwestern coach Beth Combs. “When you talk about containing Jamie, she’s obviously a fantastic player, but that’s what makes Indiana a pretty good team to reckon with. They didn’t need her to score.”

The Hoosiers held a 14-5 advantage on steals and a 19-12 advantage on turnovers. But Legette-Jack still mentioned some defensive lapses while explaining her incomplete satisfaction.

“I’m one of those old-time coaches even though I’m so young,” Coach Jack said. “I’ve only been a head coach for six years, but I believe defense creates offense. I believe you win a championship when you play defense.”

Indiana (18-13) battles Purdue (15-14) on Friday in a rubber match for the season series. Both teams won on the road during the regular season meetings.

“All of this is new. It’s very, very exciting,” Serfling added. “Never been in a situation like this before. It’s not scary. It’s just a great atmosphere.”

NOTE: Indiana freshman Georgia Follmer did not make the trip to Indy with the team and will remain in Bloomington on Friday despite the win.

Game 3 Final:
(9) Illinois 73, (8) Wisconsin 58
(9) Illinois vs. (1) #22 Ohio State, Friday, 6 p.m.