By Josh Eastern
Indiana has struggled out of the gate in Big Ten play with just one win in four games coming into Wednesday’s matchup in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
But after an 18-point win over Purdue on Saturday at home, the Hoosiers were looking to get a streak going on the road. IU senior guard Tyra Buss is two games removed from breaking the scoring record. IU had some confidence coming off of a win too.
Regardless of the momentum and another hard fought 40 minutes, the Wolverines edged out the Hoosiers in Ann Arbor, 84-79.
“I thought they had strung two games together,” IU assistant coach Janese Banks said on the IU radio postgame show. “Really trying to execute the game plan, playing hard, being focused, attention to detail. This team is starting to click. The unfortunate thing is when it’s seeming to click, this team has a loss like this.”
In a game where IU senior forward Amanda Cahill fouled out with over seven minutes to play, the Hoosiers had to rely on others to carry them down the stretch. Freshman guard Bendu Yeaney scored a career high 18 points while junior forward Kym Royster added 15 points.
While you can be fairly certain on Buss and Cahill heavily contributing, it is always nice to see what others can do. They combined for 34 points, but getting others involved is important moving forward.
IU was able to contain the Michigan playmakers of center Halle Thome guard Katelynn Flaherty. Without Cahill on the floor, it made it a steeper hill to climb. Yeaney was one of those players who turned in a good performance to keep it close and within striking distance.
“It was really nice to see Bendu be that aggressive,” Banks said. “Not only did she score, but I thought she made good decisions. As the game kept going, I thought she did a nice job.”
The last two losses have both been tough to swallow. The Hoosiers fought back only to lose close at Penn State. Then once again Wednesday, Indiana just couldn’t close it out late.
It’s definitely a step in the right direction that the Hoosiers have been turning in hard fought performances. What makes it tough to swallow is the lack of success thus far in the Big Ten.
The talent is aplenty on the roster, but in a conference as tough as the Big Ten, it makes it hard to find wins.
“It’s unfortunate when you do the things that you want to do, what you ask your kids to do and they do it, and you come up short,” Banks said. “It’s disheartening for them, but Michigan is a good basketball team and you can’t take anything away from them.”
It doesn’t get any easier for the Hoosiers upcoming as they welcome in the Ohio State Buckeyes Saturday in Bloomington.