IU women wrap: Virginia Tech

WHAT HAPPENED: Larryn Brooks scored 37 points, setting an Indiana women’s basketball freshman record to lead the Hoosiers to a 71-65 victory over Virginia Tech in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge Wednesday before an announced 2,210 at Assembly Hall. The win propels Indiana to 8-0 — its best season-opening record since 1994-95. Interestingly enough, Brooks was born at the end of that season. The win makes Indiana the only Big Ten team to prevail on the opening night of the women’s Big Ten/ACC event.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: Brooks, of course. She broke the 32-year-old record set by Denise Jackson, who stands as Indiana’s career scoring leader. Her 37 points tied her for the fifth-best scoring game in program history. No one has scored that many points for IU since 1999, when Cindy Kerns poured in 37 against Michigan.

It was yet another example of Brooks’ importance to this team. With a lesser player filling her role Wednesday, Indiana does not prevail. Instead, the Hoosiers have now won back-to-back Big Ten-ACC Challenges for the first time since the event began. After the game, Miller was most pleased with Brooks’ defensive work in holding Hokies point guard Vanessa Panousis to an 0-for-8 night from the floor.

“You can write all you want about her offense,” Indiana coach Curt Miller said. “It was special and record-breaking and it deserves its own talking-about. But what she did to win the game tonight was at the defensive end. She shut down a very talented point guard that we believed was the key to everything Virginia Tech tries to do.”

KEY STAT: Six turnovers for Indiana. Against a longer, rangier major conference foe, the Hoosiers held on to the ball. It wasn’t always perfect, and there were some poor, forced passes during IU’s early-game slump. But Indiana once again showed that, although its a young team, it has better basketball sense this season. Especially in the backcourt.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “We don’t win that game without a loud crowd. I hope we’re hooking people and getting more and more people coming. This team deserves it. There’s a buzz around this program right now. The fans we had here tonight were terrific. We wouldn’t have won without their loud support. I look for more people to show up because we’re playing an exciting style and they’re giving everything they’ve got to this program.”
— Indiana coach Curt Miller

MIKE’S ‘WHAT THE HECK?’ MOMENT: The pep band, along with a large student section, sang Christmas carols and other songs while Virginia Tech attempted free throws on the south end of the court. That’s not the weird part. The strange anecdote was when the students sand the Spongebob Squarepants theme song midway through the second half a man behind press row growled, “Sing Jingle Bells for crying out loud!” Yes, I believe he was serious.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: It means a lot for a team seeking to prove that its run through the non-conference schedule is nothing to scoff at.

“It gives us credibility,” Miller said. “There will be the naysayers with the schedule we’ve played so far, but we’ve gone out and risen to every occasion with a very young team and won games … It’s a really, really quality win and something that we can talk about on the recruiting trails. It’s something in our locker room that we can take great pride in.”

It also sets up Indiana for a strong finish to its non-conference season, with four of the Hoosiers’ next five games coming away from Assembly Hall. It has to be encouraging that Brooks was able to play so well — and efficient — against a higher caliber opponent. That only bodes well for next month when the conference season begins in earnest. IU got beat on the boards, but if this team can continue to find ways to score 70 points while shooting only 34 percent, it’s going to win some Big Ten games.

Virginia Tech may not be a Big Ten opponent, but it’s as close as IU is going to get until Jan. 2. With another test passed, the Hoosiers are putting themselves in position to surprise some people by the time that Iowa game comes around early next month.

NOTABLE:
Indiana shot 20-for-25 (80 percent) from the free throw line for its best mark of the season.
IU committed only six turnovers, marking the fourth time in eight games that the Hoosiers have given up 10 or less turnovers.
Brooks wasn’t the only freshman to chip in on the offensive end. Alexis Gassion scored a career-high 10 points for her third double-figure game of the year.
Sasha Chaplin scored six points and pulled down eight rebounds. Her three blocks were a career high.

4 comments

  1. WOW! Coach Miller and his staff have really made a difference in a short period of time. Four Seniors and a host of Freshmen and Sophomores have melded into a fine team. Unfortunately the four Seniors are the top four “Bigs” on the roster. IU needs Anderson to get healthy and play this season. Great job to all! Now make the home games FREE (the ticket income is negligible and more fans will come and eat more popcorn and drink more coke, so revenues will dip but not too much) and fill up The Hall!

  2. I have seen every game so far this year including the 2 road games and have been saying all year so far that this team is the real deal. That is not to say that they will go undefeated or anything like that but, they play incredibly hard and are well coached! Conference play will be very difficult especially for a team so young. The Big 10 conference is one of the strongest in the nation and will be tough going! Larryn Brooks is worth the price of admission alone but, this team is truly deep and deserves your following. Although the crowd was a little over 2,000 last night I was really disappointed it wasn’t much larger. It would be very nice if we could continue to get a nice student following like we had last night, they were very loud and made a difference!

    This is a rising program that will be very exciting for as many years as coach Miller and his staff are on board. Please come out and watch this exciting team play, GO Hoosiers!!

  3. What’s it going to take to get people to attend these games? Only 2,210 people showed up to watch this game? That’s embarrassing! If IU wants to be known for its prowess in basketball, Hoosier fans need to show support for both the men’s and women’s team by attending the games. It looks like we finally have a good team and are building a solid program that will be worth watching. It’s not too much to expect 5,000 people to attend the game.

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