IUWBB: Hoosiers pull out four-overtime thriller over MSU

INDIANAPOLIS — Of course, the question was asked at one moment or another during Thursday’s quadruple overtime thriller. Even with the inexhaustible Tyra Buss, Indiana’s assistant coaches had to check in.

“Even (Janese Banks) asked Tyra if she was tired and needed a blow,” IU coach Teri Moren said. “Tyra looked at her like ‘You gotta be kidding me, right?'”

In a game where Buss and fellow senior Amanda Cahill were fighting for their last chance at a postseason bid, there was no way either was surrendering a second to the bench. And with what would be a full 60 minutes burned into their legs, they weren’t going to pass up a chance to beat Michigan State in the longest game in Big Ten Tournament history.

The two seniors came up huge in their own way in a 111-109 win for the Hoosiers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Cahill, who scored a career-high 38 points, hit two free throws to seal the deal with 3.6 seconds left. Buss, who was 2-of-9 from 3-point range, had one of her makes with 40 seconds left in the fourth overtime to give the cream and crimson a 109-107 advantage.

There is no need to ask Buss, the nation’s leader in minutes played, whether she needs a rest. And there is certainly need to tell Buss, the program’s all-time leading scorer, to keep shooting.

“Definitely didn’t shoot it great, but my mentality was I just have to keep shooting,” said Buss, who was 8-of-26 from the field for 24 points. “I’m a great shooter, and my teammates believed in me, and I believed in myself.”

The belief that the Hoosiers (17-13) could win was almost stolen away in the very first overtime. On one end, IU had a last-shot opportunity, but Cahill was crunched between two Spartan defenders on a drive, the ball popping loose with 2.5 seconds left. Shay Colley, who led the Spartans with 27 points, caught up with a pass thrown just ahead of her, tossing in an off-balance layup before the scoreboard lights turned on.

As the officials reviewed the shot, which would have given MSU an 82-80 win, the Spartans exchanged high-fives near their bench. Buss, huddled with her teammates, had her hands gripped to the top of her head.

“I didn’t know they had stopped the clock,” Buss said. “I was just down on the baseline thinking that we just lost. We’re done. But I went back, and coach Rhet (Wierzba) said he was 90 percent sure that they had stopped the clock. I was like ‘Are you sure? Are you 100 percent sure?’ Because I wanted to know.” 

Once the officials waved off the basket, it breathed new life into the Hoosiers, as well as a game that seemed destined never to end. Buss came into the game averaging 39.6 minutes per contest, and a full four overtimes bumped her above a full-game average, at 40.3 per outing.

By the time it was over, it was a blur for everyone involved. It was a game that was very nearly won and lost, on both sides, many times over. And considering the 17-point lead the Hoosiers blew versus Purdue in last year’s Big Ten tournament opener, there was cause for concern. 

IU led 45-32 late in the second quarter, with a late layup and a 3 from MSU sophomore Taryn McCutcheon reducing the halftime deficit to eight points. MSU (17-13) whittled away from there, trailing by six heading into the fourth, and eventually capturing its first lead of the game on two free throws by Colley with 4:34 left in regulation.

The intensity of the game rose with every volley, with the most blatant example just a couple minutes before Colley’s free throws. After one of Buss’ wild adventures into the paint, which drew a foul, MSU forward Taya Reimer shoved Buss under the basket and into the IU cheerleading contingent. Buss got up, shouting toward the Spartans as they walked away, back toward their bench.

Reimer was issued a flagrant foul upon review. Buss was awarded two free throws and extended IU’s lead back to three with 6:20 remaining.

The fight continued, back and forth. Cahill hit a 3-pointer to extend the IU advantage to 72-68, but the Spartans answered with layups from Branndais Agee and Reimer. A putback by Cahill with 39 seconds left gave the Hoosiers a 74-72 edge, but Colley hit 14 seconds later. IU had a chance to hold for the last shot, but a turnover sent Agee rolling down the court with a chance at a layup with time expiring. It was off the mark.

And then the game kept going, and going, and going, one big shot after another. Cahill took a drive baseline for a bucket in the second overtime, with time expiring, to make it 91-all. IU freshman Bendu Yeaney came up with another game-tying drive with 18 seconds left in the third. In the fourth, Buss drained her 3, and Cahill swished her free throws.

It continued on until one team just couldn’t get a shot off. MSU had a chance for a final shot with 3.6 seconds left, but the Hoosiers smothered Reimer when she received the inbounds pass. McCutcheon came up with the loose ball, but her desperation heave came up short and left.

With that, No. 7 seed IU moves on to play No. 2 Maryland tonight at 6:30 p.m. Moren, of course, had to answer an obvious question postgame: How much do the Hoosiers possibly have left in the tank in their pursuit of the NCAA tournament?

“We’ve played with a lack of depth all year, all season,” Moren said. “What is most important is that we get them back to the hotel and get them some rest. But as I said to our group, the first game is always the most difficult. Once you can get that first game, you have a little bit of momentum. Hopefully, our kids have some confidence.”

10 comments

  1. I was wrong as MSU I should have gave 40% chance to win. Hardly no words. From beginning of season until now the IU ladies have to be one of the most improved teams in the country. (at least a top ten improved team in the country). At beginning of season no way they are even in this game. Amanda Cahill great game and the under class women had the seniors back in this one. Talking about players coming together as a team from where they started. Wow.

  2. Unbelievably physical and horribly officiated game. Not intentionally unfair to IU, just no control by the officials. To my eyes, the game was basically out of control under the basket, not sure I saw an “and one” all night long. MSU was bigger, a lot stronger, and with a lot more depth. An invitation to a big win for MSU.
    The only way I can figure we won the game was unbelievable heart and courage by the IU women. MSU was really rounding into shape, having just beaten Purdue at Purdue on Purdue’s Senior Night.

    I think beating MSU was HUGE, even if we have nohing left in the tank for Maryland.

    Hats off to Teri Moren. IU women’s basketball has been a very tough ship to turn around. Felicia Leggette-Jack’s Buffalo team currently sits at #16 in the RPI ratings. Katie Abraham-Henderson, who coached here with Coach Jack, just got her 20th win at UCF, first time they’ve done that since 1984-1985. And yet, even together, they were unable to turn around IU women’s basketball.

    Coach Moren is the real deal. Congratulations to her and to her players. The underclass group continues to improve. Look at the stats for tonight’s game……

  3. And not just an easy one and half game, but a highly contested, very physical, rough and tumble, rugged ball game. Fast physical plus mental recovery very much needed.

  4. In all my 72 years, I have never seen a game as good as this one!! This game was a gut check from the start to the finish. Our girls, not as athletic or as tall as Michigan St. depth, continued to fight and claw and gutted out this tremendous win. If you would look at the balance in the box score of our Hoosiers, you would see that every player had big moments. But, as much as Tyra struggled tonight trying to take the ball to the basket and was unable to get her three’s to drop, she hit the biggest 3 of the night to give us the lead late in the 4th OT. She proved what a great leader she is. But, all in all, Amanda Cahill had a game for the ages; she hit 14 of 20 field goal attempts, 5 out of 7 three point attempts, 5 of 6 from the free throw line, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 blocked shots and 4 steals. Talk about filling up the stat sheet when her team needed her in the worst way.
    Michigan St. blocked 14 IU shots and it wasn’t enough. The Hoosiers were simply not to be denied! We can only hope we can get enough rest for tomorrow evening’s game. We have another tall order in Maryland. Go Hoosiers!!

  5. Amazing game & amazing win. A win later today would be nice but this team must be about wiped out. And Jon – Relly nice write up.

  6. I second the kudo on Jon’s article. Jon’s in a groove. Has a great feel for the special nature of this team.
    And I could not agree more with Mike C’s analysis of the game as well. One of the most amazing athletic events I’ve ever attended. Gut check is a perfect description, and it applied to both teams.

    1. I agree Chet. This is a game to be remembered. I love Amanda Cahill. She is a much better player than the coaches give her credit for. She knows her game and plays within herself. Tyra just is like the energizer bunny, Just goes and goes and gives and it her all. I’m 81 and these girls have given me much pleasure for 4 yrs. now. I hope Terry Moran can keep getting good players and maybe some of the girls in Indiana will pay some attention to this GREAT SCHOOL down south.

  7. This was a game for the ages not soon forgotten. An emotional roller-coaster of a ball game. At the end of the first overtime especially when IU thought they had lost and it actually appeared what had happened . At the game they didnt show what had happened with the clock, only later did I actually see that the clock had stopped for maybe .5 to 1sec which allowed MSU to look like they beat the buzzer when in reality they didnt. I cant say enough for the game Cahill had last night in every aspect , she was not willing to go back to bloomington if she had anything to say about it. Also with the bad shooting night Buss had her late 3 in the last OT was as big as any shot in the game. With the 3.6 sec to go and the pass comes to Reimer but Yeaney got a hand in there to dislodge it and still their little guard got a desparate shot off that was off target. As this game kept going on with the extra sessions you couldnt help knowing that one of these teams had to lose and it would be a heart-breaker either way. So playing what amounts to a game and half where will they find the strength to play well against the #2 seed tonight. No matter what happens tonight Im so proud of this team and there will be no reason to hang their head. This team has greatly improved since early in the season when the freshmen were like deer in the headlights, which is not the case now. Go IU!!

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