Teri Moren took questions from reporters in Evanston today following the Hoosiers’ 80-67 loss to Northwestern. Here is what she had to say:
On the emotion of Saturday’s game following Jordan Hankins’ death
We knew there was going to be a lot of emotion behind this and part of our message with our players is we have a responsibility to help the Northwestern family heal from this tragic event and I’m happy that, not in the loss, but it just seems fitting that Indiana was the opponent today, as we think about Jordan, the fact that she was from Indiana, but obviously is part of the Northwestern family. We certainly, as I said to Coach Joe, I don’t know if there is any booklet or pamphlet that tells us how we are supposed to deal with something like this, all we can do is continue to pray for Northwestern and the Hankins family and Joe and his staff in this difficult time. With that being said, I thought it was a really good game. You have two very, very good teams that went at it hard today. For us, looking at the stats, we didn’t hit enough shots to beat a team that I thought came out with a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of emotion. That is what was disappointing to us. I thought we made it a game for the spectators and the fans. Unfortunately, our big two, especially – I thought Lex Gassion played well — but Amanda Cahill going 6-for-21, Tyra Buss going 6-for-17, is uncharacteristic of the way they have been shooting the ball. Disappointed, of course, but like I said, there is something special about being here today and helping Northwestern move forward.
On the help available to student-athletes with mental health issues
We are at such great institutions, Indiana and Northwestern and throughout the Big Ten, I think we have the best of the best people in place who can help our student-athletes. There is some resource on every campus and every athletic department that is available for our students-athletes. Part of the mission is always to encourage those student-athletes to use those resources. I think that’s the tough part, right? As a coach and as a staff, you hopefully want to have an awareness and recognize if there is something about the players you are coaching, but it is also the responsibility of that student-athlete to take advantage of those resources and I know that’s something we always encourage and we have our excellence academy at Indiana and do a terrific job of educating our student athletes of what’s available to them and for them, in hopes that at any time during their four or five years at Indiana that they will take advantage of those resources and that help.
On Indiana’s shooting woes (hit a season-low 32.4 percent)
I thought Lex, she was just coming up short today. Her midrange game is terrific and that’s one of her strengths. I don’t know that I can pinpoint Buss, but I do know this, it probably had something to do with Deary. She’s a terrific on-ball defender. Look, if you pay attention to this contest between these two teams, those two point guards like to go at each other. I think for Tyra and for Deary, they both get excited about the opportunity to play one another, they bring out the best in each other. It was just, unfortunately, Deary got the best of Tyra Buss today. I thought Tyra, she seemed hurried, she seemed rushed. At one point, you are hoping it goes in. You have to shoot it like you expect it to go in. I thought that had a lot to do with Northwestern. I thought they hurried us, made us play a lot faster. We did some uncharacteristic things, whether it was our shot selection, or just getting careless at times. Even though we only had 12 turnovers, I just thought we took some shots that we don’t normally try to take.
On Northwestern’s ability to maintain its energy for 40 minutes
Again, I don’t know obviously the team and the culture they have here. But here’s the one thing I do know about young people. I think there is a resilience about them when it comes to adversity. I don’t think we give enough credit, sometimes. Maybe it was 40 minutes that they could put aside their heartbreak, and just play for Jordan. And that’s probably was their mission today, to play for something bigger than themselves, and that was for that young lady that they lost. There is nothing in a pamphlet or a booklet that tells a coach how to coach that, you know. Again, let’s not forget, this is a veteran basketball team. They have five seniors, Nia Coffey. They are veteran and they are mature. So I’m not surprised at all that they came out with emotion. I thought the crowd had a lot to do with it also. They had a terrific crowd and that energized them. When they would make runs, you could just feel it in the place, that it was what they needed. It was a great crowd.
On her message to Northwestern and coach Joe McKeown
I love Joe, and I think he’s obviously done a terrific job here. Just a great ambassador for women’s basketball, and he has been for so long, and has done well everywhere he has been. The message was for those kids, even though you have the Indiana family and the Northwestern family, there is such a thing as the Big Ten family and we are all part of that. Just made sure they knew we had been thinking of them and praying for them and supporting them from afar. We talked about it. When we heard about it, we had left for our Michigan game. Like I said, a lot of heartbreak. It was a moment for me and our staff, I know, that we didn’t stop thinking about or talking about, like I said, the pain that Northwestern had to be going through at that point. I just wanted to hug them and I wanted them to know that we were supporting and thinking and praying for them and that’s the smallest thing I can do, because I know it has been a difficult week here.