IU women wrap: Milwaukee

WHAT HAPPENED: Indiana closed its home non-conference schedule with a perfect record after knocking off Milwaukee, 87-68, before an announced 1,891 at Assembly Hall. The win extends the Hoosiers’ season-opening winning streak to 10 games — marking the first time IU has started the season 10-0 since 1994. Indiana, which led by as many as 24 points, never relinquished the lead and finished three scorers in double figures. The Hoosiers shot 50 percent from the floor and hit eight 3-pointers, including seven from freshman point guard Larryn Brooks, who finished with a game-high 27 points.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: Brooks, yet again. Her 27 points ties her for the ninth most scored by a freshman in IU program history. Through the first 10 games of her career, Brooks is first (37 against Virginia Tech), tied for ninth (27 against Milwaukee) and 12th (25 at IPFW) in most points scored by a freshman in Indiana history.

But Brooks was not the only one. She teamed with classmate Taylor Agler, who posted an impressive floor game and defensive effort Wednesday. Agler led the team with five assists and four steals. She scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds, while turning the ball over only once.

Sasha Chaplin made the most of her 15 minutes, scoring 16 points and getting the Hoosiers started with their first basket of the night. This has been a trend for Chaplin, who’s now scored Indiana’s first points five times this season. It was her fifth game this season in double figures and the 34th of her career.

Milika Taufa was Indiana’s best reserve of the night. She scored eight points and pulled down eight rebounds, while moving among the bodies in the post with supreme energy.

KEY STAT: Indiana’s 46 points in the paint against Milwaukee’s 18.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “They’re both such dynamic players in their own right. Larryn is such a great scoring point guard. If you watch the game over (you) notice all the little things that Taylor Agler does for you. She got a lot of deflections tonight, steals and she was penetrating and creating opportunities for other people … Those two were the catalysts for what we’re trying to accomplish and they were terrific tonight.”
— IU coach Curt Miller on his freshmen backcourt of Larryn Brooks and Taylor Agler

MIKE’S “WHAT THE HECK?” MOMENT:
I started including this tidbit aware that some nights would produce very few “What the heck?” moments. This is the first of those nights. But I believe Curt Miller was probably thinking “What the heck?” midway through the second half when one of the officials approached him at the bench saying that Sasha Chaplin either did not give the correct number or did not give a number at all to the official scorer while checking in for Simone Deloach. Miller and the official had a back-and-forth that mainly consisted of Miller repeating, “She doesn’t have to give a number. She doesn’t have to give a number.”

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: The home portion of Indiana’s non-conference schedule ended as an overwhelming success. The Hoosiers are undefeated at Assembly Hall, picking up some momentum for a program that looks set to build on last season’s 2-14 Big Ten record. Although the conference season, of course, will provide the true measuring stick of how far along this IU program really is, it’s hard to argue with what Miller and his Hoosiers have been able to do through the first 10 games of the non-conference season. I still believe this team — its freshmen, especially — are in for an awakening when teams like Nebraska and Penn State show up on the schedule. They still have yet to see the kind of quickness, size and consistency that Big Ten foes will show them this winter. But no one could’ve asked for a better start to the season than what Indiana has given its supporters already.

With every game, Larryn Brooks looks like a steal of a recruit. She entered Wednesday ranked No. 6 in the nation in scoring with 18.8 points per game. She only built on that against Milwaukee. Then you see the kind of heady, all-around player that the Hoosiers picked up in Taylor Agler and it’s astounding to think she’s a girl who’ll be fighting for playing time next season once Miller’s heralded 2014 recruiting class arrives in Bloomington. These are bright days for a program that’s seen few of them in its 43-year history.

Again, it’s about to get tougher. Indiana’s next three games are all on the road, starting with Saturday’s trip to IUPUI, where the Hoosiers will absolutely have to play well to earn a win. There’s a trip next week to Cleveland State, a team that beat IU at Assembly Hall last year, and a game at Xavier on Dec. 29 to close the non-conference slate.

“Not one other Big Ten has three straight true road games on their schedule this year,” Miller said Wednesday. “In fact, we play the most true road games of any team in the Big Ten. Now we have to go and try, with a young team, to prepare like crazy and win on the road.”

NOTABLE:
— Indiana’s 51 percent (18-of-35) shooting figure in the first half marked the eight half this season that the Hoosiers have shot better than 50 percent.
— Wednesday was the second time this season that IU shot 50 percent for the game.
— The Hoosiers’ 46 points in the paint against Milwaukee’s switching man-to-man defense were a season high in that category.
— IU had 16 assists against 10 turnovers. It was the sixth game this season that Indiana has committed 10 turnovers or less.
— Indiana’s 10 steals were a season high.
— Tabitha Gerardot set a career high with three blocks. She added 13 points, marking the seventh time Gerardot has scored in double figures.
— Alexis Gassion’s four assists were a season high.
— Milika Taufa’s eight points and eight rebounds were both season highs.
— Wednesday’s crowd of 1,891 was Indiana’s third-smallest Assembly Hall attendance of the season.

Video above courtesy of IU Athletics

18 comments

  1. The women play great, but to a near empty house! It is time for AD Glass to DO something! He has no fancy Bowl trip to sunny weather. You ask what can he do? Easy, declare that anyone, student, staff, public at large, can obtain a women’s basketball Season Pass for $5. Make all seating first come first served. Use the money to reimburse any pre-paid season or package ticket holders. Give these season passes out to every girl playing organized basketball within 100 miles within the State of Indiana. Build excitement! Build the brand Indiana Women’s Basketball! What is the worst thing that could happen…17,500 people show up for an IU Women’s game? Then set up closed circuit Big Screen TV in Cook Hall and call me a genius!

  2. BeatPurdue, I agree. It’s time for Glass to step in and get some butts in the seats. He’s a marketing genius, so I know he could figure something out. These girls are playing too welland Miller and staff are working too hard for very little support.

  3. I agree with both previous posts, I have been criticizing the attendance all year long. I live in Kokomo and have been a women’s season ticket holder for years. I have only missed one game this year home or away, that was Morehead St. If I can make the 200 mile round trip each night, why can’t students be encouraged to attend home games every night. All students, when they show their student ID get in free. There was a very good student presence at the Virginia Tech game and it made a difference! I will be at IUPUI this Sunday to support our team again!

    This team is so much fun to watch and people are unaware of it because they won’t make the effort to come out. As I have said in the past, this team will not continue undefeated but, they will compete at a high level and as stated before, they deserve your support!

    As stated above, AD Glass needs to step up and do something to encourage higher attendance at these upcoming home games. Believe me, you will not be disappointed if you make the effort to come to Assembly Hall and watch this improving team. Go Hoosiers!!

  4. The big problem is weekday games are hard to attend for families. This goes for both mean and womens basketball. My oldest daughter is in sixth grade and loves going to games but she had a game of her own last night. Plus by the time the game ends it is past my kids bed time as the bus shows up at our door step at 6:45am. The womens team usually gets a decent amount of young girls and their families at the game but it is much easier to go to a game on Sunday or Saturday.

    However we are very excited about the women’s team start this year and will go to as many games as we can but its just not feasible to go to them all.

  5. Firstly, congrats to IU women’s hoops. Glad to see them ripping it up this year.

    On the note of attendance: it isn’t a function of the Athletic Department doing anything, or not doing anything. It is just simple demand in action. I’m sure it bums you out that women’s basketball isn’t more popular, but the same forces influence attendance at IU football games and that drives people who do support the team crazy.

    Fred Glass could blow up a 400ft effigy of John Calipari and it would marginally increase attendance and it would be short-term. This isn’t about the money for tickets, it is the time factor. Students choose between studying, hanging out with their friends, boozin’ and partying or going to a woman’s basketball game. People who live in town or the surrounding areas have families, practices to attend and all the other time-commitments that being a parent entail.

    Call it what you want, it just isn’t compelling enough for people to justify spending their time.

  6. Double down, I realize there is a big difference between men’s & women’s basketball but, your comment about what students are doing with their time is quite ridiculous when you consider students find the time to attend men’s games with the highest student attendance in NCAA division 1 with over 9,000 per game. It would seem that expectations of around 1,000 per game for the women, especially when it is free would not be to much to expect for an undefeated team. As I stated in my first post, the virginia tech game which had roughly about 150-200 students in the student block next to the band on hand was great and made a huge difference at that game last week! Doesn’t’ seem like it would be that difficult for the AD glass to provide some incentive for students to attend games. After all, he made the great hire of Curt Miller to improve the women’s program and he and his staff have made huge inroads in turning this program around. Why not take the next step in trying to increase attendance for this team, the coaching staff and team have done all they can! It’s time for the rest of us to step up and do our part! Go Hoosiers!

  7. Mike, you proved my point. Men’s basketball as a product is just a much bigger draw, not just at IU, but everywhere not named UConn or Tennessee. People find time to do the things they like. The market has proven that women’s basketball is not as appealing in aggregate than Men’s. You cannot compare the two.

    It isn’t just IU.

    The average attendance for LA Lakers last season: 18,997
    The average attendance for LA Sparks last season: 10,998

    And, the ticket prices for the Lakers are much, much higher.

    Sorry man. I know you’re passionate about this team. I think that is super rad. I wish our ladies had more support, but it is unrealistic to think that if Glass “would just do something to increase attendance” it would happen.

    I’m certain that Glass spends all his waking moments thinking about how we can get more exposure, success and increased attendance at ALL of IU’s sports. He works within the context of a budget and has to make decisions as to what is going to help his bottom-line, while also continuing to support loss leading sports as much as feasible. Just because you aren’t seeing the results that you want to see, doesn’t mean that there aren’t efforts put in place.

    Back to IU football analogy, no one can criticise him for trying. He has pulled out all the stops and has tried every trick and scheme he can possibly think of to get people to come from across the street and into the stadium. I don’t think it’s made a lick of difference apart from the facilities upgrades, etc. Until IU starts winning: empty seats. IU Football gets the star treatment because if more people come to football games, IU could triple the revenue they bring in. Unfortunately, our team stinks.

    IU’s women are winning and if they continue to do so, I’m sure you’ll see an increase in attendance slowly over the year. As the word gets out and people sitting in class go, “Hey, IU women are in 1st place, let’s go see them wax Michigan tonight.” Be patient, I’m sure you’ll see more people.

    1. Just to quickly weigh in here, having sat through many women’s basketball games wondering where the students are. I think both MikeC and DD have good points. I don’t know that there’s much Glass can do, because there is a long culture of apathy when it comes to women’s basketball that will only be cured with sustained success. That said, those numbers for the Lakers and Sparks are interesting in that the women draw half of the men. At IU, you don’t need half the students that show up for the men’s games to come to the women’s games. If you just had one-tenth, that would be 800-900, which isn’t really all that much but would make a significant difference in the atmosphere. Like I said, there’s just no culture that says going to a women’s game is even on the radar right now for IU students, but it eventually will be if things continue to trend upward.

  8. Back to on the court, what does the Big Ten look like for the women and does IU have a shot of making some noise in the Big Ten? I know they are young, but sometimes that is the best thing because they don’t know they are supposed to lose to some of those teams and that can make them dangerous. They can play with house money this year because conference wide expectations aren’t high. I think they will shock a few teams.

  9. I think an interesting analog regarding the dynamics involving attendance are minor league baseball teams.

    Minor league teams have a really hard time selling the product on the field. You can’t start marketing campaigns around guys like Stephen Strasburg because could be brought up to the next level by their major league overlords on a whim. It’s unpredictable.

    So, like Jeremy just mentioned, you have to do cool promotions. Some minor league parks have family tickets: you pay one price, get food, drink and the ability to go on the field before the game. Some of the more ridiculous and awesome promotions are things like Costanza Night, where everything is done opposite of what you’d do.

    BUT STILL, minor league teams have to compete with the options that are going on around them. Places where there is a minor league team in town, and that is the thing to do on Fri and Sat nights, (Places like Bakersfield, Helena etc) have a much better draw than places where it isn’t (like Las Vegas, Tucson, etc). The more the competition for people’s time and money, the harder it is to get people to go.

    I think I take back a bit of my earlier statement about there being nothing Glass could do. Maybe letting the students come up with a bunch of ridiculous things like Costanza night, etc, might get people to come out? Just maybe….

  10. For reference purposes, here’s what the attendance breakdown looked like for Big Ten teams entering last night:

    School Avg. home attendance (# of home games)
    Purdue 7,699 (3)
    Nebraska 5,739 (7)
    Michigan St. 5,655 (5)
    Penn St. 5,077 (5)
    Ohio St. 4,195 (7)
    Wisconsin 3,280 (4)
    Iowa 3,217 (6)
    Minnesota 2,738 (6)
    Indiana 2,192 (6)
    Illinois 1,653 (5)
    Michigan 1,264 (2)
    Northwestern 535 (7)

  11. I think it is all about priorities using your entertainment time and money. For MikeC it is a high priority. For me it is a low priority as there is not enough time to follow the mens teams I enjoy in sports.

  12. IUHoosier1992, the conference is very strong in womens basketball. It will be a tough go for this young team in the conference. I feel that they may have a shot at playing 500 ball in the conference. If they could do that, they would be close to 20 wins on the season which would be a huge improvement over last year’s 12 wins. That would undoubtedly put them into the WNIT if not the NCAA Tournament. They are currently 10-0 with 3 more non conference games to go. All 3 of those games will be on the road and not easy. Things are really looking up! I only hope more people get out to see this team play. Go Hoosiers!!!

  13. Double Down,

    how exactly has Glass not improved football attendance? We went from around 32K per game before him to around 45K now.

  14. Indeed Jimmy, both 2011 and 2012 were increases in attendance for IU. 1 of 2 in the B1G with increases and 2012 was only 6 home games. I do not think the official is out yet for 2013 but I expect it will show no decline. AD Glass and staff have made a positive impact toward filling MS. But Double Down is right, winning will be the cherry on top.

  15. Jimmy,

    That is true. In 2009, we were really struggling with attendance. However, these increases are negligible. The way the increased ticket sales was to increase season tickets. less than 20k in ’09 and up to 31k now. The biggest % jump was in student season ticket sales was by charging $5.

    However, the attendance numbers are paid seats, not people sitting in them. These numbers don’t reflect turnstiles. In reality, Memorial Stadium is just as empty as it ever was. I watch every home game, hear the announced attendance and know for certain that the announced and the actual are pretty far off. It gets worse as the season goes on and we’re out of it as the weather gets worse.

    Our paid attendance per game went down this year:

    http://www.ibj.com/the-score-2013-11-13-glass-wilson-mirroring-creans-path-to-success-at-iu/PARAMS/post/44569

    Point being, all the gimmicks and schtick can only take you so far. Gotta put a product on the field first.

  16. The glass is half empty or the glass is half full is decided strictly on the side of the argument you choose. Diluted by the 8 home games this year average game attendance is down. Supported by the 8 home games this year total attendance increased. I don’t know about all the promotions working such as the flag pole or the cannon but Knothole Park and the student season ticket prices has certainly been 2 actions to help increase attendance and create long term IU fans. Wilson is charged with producing an accepted product and it is part of the AD’s job to market it for profit. Both have distanced those 2 chores far from where they started.

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