IU women set to play first postseason game in 5 years

Indiana’s women’s basketball program hasn’t seen the postseason in five years. Now, they’re the only show in town.

The Hoosiers will host Belmont tonight at 7 at Assembly Hall in the first round of the WNIT. It’s IU’s 11th appearance in a national postseason tournament since the NCAA Tournament began in 1983, the Hoosiers’ seventh WNIT appearance and their first since 2009.

“We’re really excited because it screams loud and clear that we’re ahead of schedule this year with a talented freshman class, but also a senior class that’s committed to finishing this as strong as they could,” Indiana coach Curt Miller said. “They exceeded expectations. I was really pleased with the growth of our fan support. Our administration has really jumped on board with that support and realized the benefits of having home games in a postseason tournament. I can’t thank them enough for their commitment to put out a competitive bid and be rewarded with a first-round home game. I didn’t want to play at South Dakota State. I didn’t want to take our program to play at Green Bay or Bowling Green or some of the talented mid-majors in the Midwest. I’m really, really excited to watch our administration jump on the board to help us with the difference aspects of growing this program.”

Indiana is 8-6 all-time in WNIT games, playing in the semifinals in 1998 and making quarterfinals appearances in 2006 and 2009. As I wrote in Thursday’s paper, Belmont coach Cameron Newbauer is the older brother of Indiana senior guard Andrea Newbauer.

The Bruins won a meeting between the two schools last season, beating the Hoosiers, 58-54, in Assembly Hall on Dec. 4, 2012. Junior Jordan Luffman leads Belmont with 14.3 points per game, as well as a .384 3-point field goal percentage. Five other Bruins average 6.2 points per game or more.

“They’re able to get people open on flare screens, and they’re a good back screen team to get their posts open under the net,” Miller said. “They have their whole team, from their point guard to their 5s, buying in to be a good screening team. They have really good movement and the kind of cutting action that we don’t always see in the Big Ten.”

Probable lineups

INDIANA (18-12, 5-11 Big Ten)
P No. Name Ht. Cl. Av.

F 14 Tabitha Gerardot 6-1 Sr. 9.1
F 44 Simone Deloach 6-3 Sr. 6.1
G 23 Alexis Gassion 5-10 Fr. 8.6
G 10 Taylor Agler 5-9 Fr. 7.9
G 5 Larryn Brooks 5-5 Fr. 15.6
BELMONT (14-17, 10-6 Ohio Valley)
P No. Name Ht. Cl. Av.

F 3 Frankie Joubran 6-1 Fr. 7.9
F 13 Jordyn Luffman 6-1 Jr. 14.3
C 30 Blair Bryce 6-5 So. 4.9
G 1 Adrienne Tarrence 5-9 Jr. 6.1
G 10 Katie Carroll 5-8 Jr. 8.8
COACHES: Cameron Newbauer, 14-17 in 1st season at Belmont; Curt Miller, 29-31 in 2nd season at Indiana, 287-123 in 13th year overall.
WHEN: 7 p.m. WHERE: Assembly Hall.
LAST TIME: Belmont won, 58-54, Dec. 4, 2012.
SERIES: Indiana leads, 4-1.
BROADCASTS: WHCC 105.1 FM.
TWITTER: @BowieMike.