IUWBB: Indiana beats PSU 68-63 in first round of B1G tournament

Penn State’s size advantage was well-noted. So, too, was the Hoosiers’ lack of experience.

But one of the smallest, youngest teams in the Big Ten won its first game in the conference tournament Wednesday, thanks to big efforts from their most youthful pieces in a 68-63 victory over Penn State.

Three freshmen led the way. Forward Amanda Cahill scored a career-high 20 points, including a crucial three-point play and another two free throws down the stretch to stave off a Lady Lions squad that kept cutting the Hoosiers lead to a bucket. Jess Walter upped her four 3s versus PSU in January with five Wednesday, and Tyra Buss finished with 12 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.

“I thought it was a really good opportunity and experience,” Cahill said. “And it was just really fun to get out there with my teammates and give it our all. And we’re happy to
keep playing.”

The victory was the Hoosiers’ first Big Ten tournament win since 2009. Indiana, the No. 12 seed, will move on to face No. 5-seeded Rutgers in the second round.

“We just came off a brutal road trip out east … last four out of five have been on the road. And I was just happy,” IU head coach Teri Moren said. “I thought our toughness, we talk about toughness. It’s kind of a buzzword that everybody throws out. But I think we had to have that.”

The Hoosiers (15-15) never trailed and held a 38-31 lead heading into halftime. But Penn State was always in striking distance. For instance, the Lady Lions (6-24) trailed 55-52 with a little more than four minutes left to play. One of Cahill’s three treys, however, pushed the lead back to six a minute later.

PSU was able to then cut IU’s lead to two, but Buss answered with a layup to make it a four-point, two-possession game with 1:11 remaining. Again, the Lady Lions answered, but, again, an IU freshman replied. It was Cahill, as the 6-foot-2 forward battled through 6-foot-5 PSU forward Tori Waldner, forcing Waldner into her fifth foul and giving the Hoosiers a five-point advantage after an and-1 free throw.

“I thought Penn State, when they started to make runs at us, we responded. In the past, at times, not always, but in the past there have been moments where we’ve hit the panic button and haven’t responded in the way that we needed to to win a basketball game,” Moren said. “And I thought that our kids just did a tremendous job of just showing some toughness.”

More importantly, perhaps, Cahill was able to stay out of foul trouble – at least to the point where she could stay on the floor. With Jenn Anderson limited because of concussion-like symptoms heading into the game, Cahill had to start at the five spot. Cahill, Lyndsay Leikem and Anderson — who played four minutes total – all picked up two fouls in the first half.

But Cahill finished with four fouls, and 27 minutes of floor time, as she headed up the Hoosiers effort in the paint. The Hoosiers were outrebounded 39-29, including 14 offensive rebounds for the Lady Lions, but that is well below their 23 during the Hoosiers’ four-point loss in January.

The Lady Lions also committed 19 fouls and surrendered 17 turnovers. IU, on the other hand, dished out 20 assists on its 23 made field goals, helping to somewhat negate their 13 ballhandling errors. The Hoosiers also hit 10-of-23 from beyond the arc.

Ball security was a big focus coming into this game, because of 19 turnovers against Rutgers in the regular season finale. The Hoosiers are hoping the stage is set for a better showing Thursday.

“We got a lead there in the first half (at Rutgers) and just couldn’t keep it because we  turned it over,” Moren said. “So I can tell you this, the discussion going into our game plan first and foremost will be valuing the ball, taking care of it, and that’s one of the things, when you look at the stats, they didn’t overwhelm us in any category other than the fact we just turned it over.”

3 comments

  1. Terrific win for our Hoosiers tonight! They lead the entire game and at times were up by double figures. But down the stretch the girls showed terrific grit and determination to hold off Penn St. Our young team was lead by 3 freshmen; Tyra Buss, Jess Walter and especially Amanda Cahill who had a monster game against this very big Penn St. front line. Cahill scored a career high 20 points as she was able to stay out of foul trouble which has plagued her in several games this year. Buss played a tremendous all around game and Walter’s 5 threes were crucial! Although we were out rebounded by double figures we were able to cause many tournovers which lead to easy baskets. All in all, it was a great night for our young Hoosiers, we now must play a very tough ranked Rutgers team that has beaten us twice this year although we played them pretty tough at their place last week. Go Hoosiers!

  2. There you go. Congratulations on a win that has to have a positive fun good feeling for the lady Hoosiers.

  3. Extremely happy for the team. Tough matchup today in Rutgers but the ladys can beat them. Go Hoosiers!!

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