IU women’s wrap: Northwestern

WHAT HAPPENED: Indiana struggled from the field and at the free throw line in a 58-52 loss to Northwestern before an announced 3,162 at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers shot a meager 30 percent from both the field and at the line in dropping their third game in a row and sixth in their last seven. Lyndsay Leikem scored a career-high 18 points to go along with eight rebounds, but she had little help. Indiana was only 4-for-27 from beyond the arc and missed 12 of its 15 second-half free throw attempts, including six in the final four minutes.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: Northwestern’s Lauren Douglas stepped up with 16 points off the bench, while Maggie Lyon, last season’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year, added 14 points. Of course, those two were forced to shoulder the load after Wildcats freshman star Nia Coffey left the game with an apparent ankle injury seven minutes into the first half. She did not return. Lyon and Ashley Deary (12 points) each scored 10 points in the second half. As a team, the Wildcats shot 86 percent (13-for-15) at the line, with a 38 percent (21-for-55) shooting figure from the field.

KEY STAT: Indiana went 6-for-20 at the free throw line.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “I started coaching in 1986 with a seventh and eighth grade team. You probably know how I feel about how we compare.”
— IU head coach Curt Miller.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: Indiana’s dreadful offensive slide continues — in a winnable home game, no less. Against the bigger, better and faster teams of the Big Ten, the Hoosiers have found neither traction, nor momentum. Through eight conference games, here’s how IU stacks up among the other offenses of the league:

Scoring: 10th (64.0 ppg)
Scoring margin: 12th (-9.8)
Free throw percentage: 12th (.627)
Field goal percentage: 12th (.345)
3-point FG percentage: Tied-6th (.333)

So, no. It’s not good. And it doesn’t figure to get much better this winter. Teams are keying on Larryn Brooks and trying to force other Hoosiers to step up. Leikem did, but that wasn’t enough. Indiana can’t be a one-woman show in one of the toughest leagues in the nation. Brooks still managed a team-high 16 attempts Thursday, but couldn’t find the basket until the second half. Some of her misses simply didn’t fall, others didn’t come off of good looks at the goal. It’s a learning process for everyone at this point, especially Brooks.

Lyndsay Leikem’s career-high 18 points were an obvious bright spot. She finished 7-for-12 from the floor with two 3-pointers. Her teammates did a nice job finding her, with all seven of Leikem’s field goals coming off assists.

“A lot of my teammates created a lot of shots for me tonight, so thanks to them,” Leikem said. “But coach always says, just stay confident. They were giving me a lot of assists. I was getting a lot of good dumps from penetration, so it was mostly my team.”

Miller added, “She was the one kid who was kind of fearless. She let the ball go from the 3-point line, she was getting open shots and she made the most of her opportunities with open shots. She’s capable of doing that. She’s a face-up post player that can make shots. She hasn’t played like that all the time, so it’s really good to see. But it’s unfortunate that her play wasn’t rewarded with a great team game that can really highligh that Lyndsay Leikem played well. It’s gonna get overshadowed that we lost and that we played so poorly.”

The second-year Indiana coach was clearly and obviously frustrated after his team’s latest defeat. That’s because, despite the shooting woes, the Hoosiers were still in the game late.

Leikem’s second 3-pointer made it a 49-47 IU lead with 4:26 to play, but Indiana went 1-for-6 from the field to close the game. During that same span, the team went 0-for-6 at the free throw line.

“We just kept preaching to them that we’re going to get a run,” Miller said. “If we could make two or three baskets in a row, we’re going to win this game. But it was hard to change their mindset because they couldn’t get out of their own way tonight because they were so disappointed with the way they were playing. So, no matter how many pep talks, no matter how many opportunities you get to tell them on the sideline, you’re one run away from winning this game. That’s what we tried to tell them — you didn’t play well and you put yourself in position to win a game.”

There is obviously a load of potential within this group that has yet to be tapped on a consistent basis. It will come. But the waiting frustration is palpable as the Hoosiers’ return to the bottom of the Big Ten standings continues.

NOTABLE:
— Indiana scored 30 points in the paint for the 10th game this season.
— The Hoosiers cut their turnovers from a season-high 22 against Iowa on Saturday to eight Thursday vs. Northwestern.
— Each team finished with 47 rebounds. For IU, 20 of those came on the offensive glass.
— Simone Deloach nine points, with seven of those coming in the first six minutes of the game.

Video above courtesy of IU Athletics

One comment

  1. Very disappointing game last night! IU’s horrible shooting night killed them. 30 percent from the field, 4 of 27 from 3 point area and the real killer was 6 for 20 from the free throw line. If we shoot just 50 percent from the free throw line, we win. Missed the front end of several 1&1’s This very young team really struggled! These freshmen look like they may be hitting the wall? Two of the games we have lost in the conference (Wisconsin & Northwestern) were games that we could have won but, our youth really showed in both. Our lack of back court veteran leadership was instrumental in both losses. Of course this is something we have to deal with this year due to the make up of our roster. While our guards are very talented, they are freshmen. We had another plus 3,000 crowd last night which was nice! We need to keep supporting this very young team! Things will get better, youth will be served before long. Go Hoosiers!!

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