Indiana clinched consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time in program history Saturday with a 74-60 win at Illinois.
Point guard Tyra Buss led the effort with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while junior classmate Amanda Cahill also notched a double-double with 13 points and 15 boards. The Hoosiers (20-9, 10-6 Big Ten) dominated the glass, 46-28, including 18 offensive rebounds.
With the win, IU still has a shot at the No. 4 seed in the Big Ten tournament, which comes with a double bye. But the Hoosiers need Nebraska (6-21, 2-13) to knock off Michigan State (19-9, 9-6) on Sunday.
IU’s first quarter was reminiscent of last weekend’s disappointing loss at Nebraska. The Hoosiers fell behind 19-11 after 10 minutes, in part, because of poor shooting. IU missed its first eight 3-point attempts before Karlee McBride hit two early in the second quarter.
Illinois led by as many as 14 points in the first half, but those McBride 3s sparked a 13-0 run to bring the Hoosiers within striking distance. IU finished the first half shooting 10-of-29, but made six of its last nine from the field to carry a 35-33 lead into halftime.
In the first half, Buss scored 10 points, enough to pass IU legend Denise Jackson for the most points through a junior season. After Saturday’s game, Buss has 1,522 points. Jackson had 1,505 as a junior.
IU then came out strong in the second half. McBride hit a 3 to cap a 7-0 run to put the Hoosiers up 42-33 with 6:07 left in the period. The Illini scored only eight points in the third quarter, and the Hoosiers took a 51-41 lead into the fourth. McBride finished with 15 points on 5-of-14 shooting from 3.
The pace of play took an uptick in the final period, but the Hoosiers still outpaced the Illini, 23-19. IU finished the game with a 41 percent success rate from the field, as opposed to Illinois’ 33 percent effort.
Illinois (8-21, 3-13) was without leading scorer Alex Wittinger for all but seven minutes of Saturday’s contest because of a hand injury. Freshman point guard Brandi Beasley finished with a team-high 16 points, but it came on 6-of-19 shooting. Eleven of those points came in the first half.
IU’s dominance on the glass translated to a 19-6 advantage on second-chance points. Cahill pulled down seven of the Hoosiers’ offensive boards, and senior Jenn Anderson, who finished with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, pulled down three.
Anderson, however, was limited to 18 minutes because of foul trouble. Sophomore Kym Royster saw more action, and produced six points and a block in 15 minutes. Senior Amber Deane also came off the bench to add five points in nine minutes.