Three Takeaways From IUWBB's 80-59 Victory Vs. Michigan
The No. 14 Indiana Women's Basketball Team Improved To 12-1 Overall And 3-0 In Big Ten Play With Their 11th Straight Victory.
Assembly Hall Where Indiana Indiana Played Michigan On Thursday
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“Bad” Michigan Showed up in Assembly Hall Thursday And Hoosiers Took Full Advantage
The Wolverines have essentially two versions of themselves they bring to the court. The one that is at their best just knocked off an elite Ohio State squad and destroyed the same Illinois team on the road that the Hoosiers just barely edged at home. At their best, Michigan is among the top squads the nation has to offer.
The problem is, unlike Indiana, the Wolverines are not consistently good which is why they are unranked. At their worst, the side that visited Assembly Hall Thursday can lose to almost anyone they play against. Indeed, Michigan was blown out by a middling Toledo squad as well as by Florida and Ole Miss. This more than anything proves when UM does not bring their top effort, they are no better than some mid-majors.
Fortunately for the Hoosiers, they got the version on Thursday that struggles. Indeed, the score looked similar to when the Cream and Crimson played lesser competition before Big Ten play resumed. They led by at least 15-25 points all night in cruising to the victory.
This blowout was accomplished because the Wolverines struggled to defend the Hoosiers from the beginning. IU got whatever they wanted at both the rim and from long range without much effort and jumped to a 14-4 lead prompting a timeout. Indeed, Indiana did not miss in the first quarter and raced to a 36-17 lead after the opening 10 minutes. This kept up the rest of the night as the tone was set in those first few moments.
IU star Mackenzie Holmes said she was not sure why Michigan was allowing the Hoosiers to be unguarded early from behind the line and the team took full advantage.
“I think they were taking risks and leaving some people open,” Holmes said. “I don’t know why you would ever leave Sara Scalia open on the perimeter but they did and she made them pay. I think they took a chance and didn’t close out very hard and we knocked them down.”
Can The Hoosiers Take This Shooting And Success On The Road
Assembly Hall has been a place where the Hoosiers have thrived in every way so far this season in a home environment. That should continue for the rest of the month as IU plays a Penn State team that is currently missing its two best players, a now struggling Minnesota, and a Northwestern squad that may finish last in the league.
With that said, life on the road has been a bumpy ride. All three times Indiana has gone up against competition with a hostile crowd it has not been easy. Whether it be a blowout loss to Stanford or a narrow escape against struggling Maine and Rutgers, shots have not fallen as easily in the opponent’s territory and the squad has struggled overall.
The Hoosiers are about to be tested away from Bloomington in a way they have not been since the result against the Cardinal. The next five Big Ten contests on the road are against teams either elite or likely to make the postseason (Nebraska, Iowa, Maryland, Ohio State), or a hungry rival (Purdue).
The success at home is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. However, whether IU can repeat as conference champions likely rests on better shooting and the ability to play top-notch on the road.
Crowd Expectations Are Different Now And That Is A Good Thing
Anyone who was returning to a women’s game for the first time in more than a year would have been shocked by how large the crowd was on Thursday. By contrast, a person who was here Sunday or at any point since Big Ten play resumed in January of last year would likely have considered the crowd size against Michigan to be average.
It was not too long ago an Assembly Hall filled to the entryways on the main level for a women’s game was beyond the teams and fans wildest dreams. Now this is the minimal expectation. With many contests recently having at least filled the entire east and west sides of the lower portion of the arena, if not bled into the balcony as it did on Sunday, what is considered a ‘big crowd’ is different now.
Indeed 16 of the 18 largest crowds consisting of at least 8,227 have come in the last two seasons. This included tonight’s 8,723. What this shows is these much larger numbers are not to be taken for granted and IU now has among the best support in the nation for women’s basketball.
These crowds used to consist of family and friends near the court and was among the worst in college basketball. Now it consists of many thousands and is near the very top of women’s audiences.
IU Coach Teri Moren said she is thrilled to see the huge number of fans at games regularly and it helps her team a lot.
“We’re grateful,” Moren said. “Give all those players credit. They have really turned this program into a competitive program and one I think our crowd enjoys watching. We try to play fast and hard regardless of the scoreboard. It’s special and they get us to the finish line our crowd.”