With a rare off game from IU senior guard Tyra Buss, the Indiana Hoosiers saw a glimpse into its future in Saturday’s 77-62 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes.
After a slow first quarter, which saw the Hoosiers score just nine points, it was freshman guard Jaelynn Penn that stepped up. Penn finished the game with 20 points on eight-of-13 shooting. It was in the second quarter where she really took over.
The Hoosiers found themselves down 22-9 after the first 10 minutes. It has been Buss and senior forward Amanda Cahill who have carried them this season. Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said they wanted to make that duo work and earn everything. That didn’t account for Penn’s 14 second quarter points. She said her mindset was to just keep attacking.
2Q | 1:04: Penn with her 14th point of the game on a baseline jumper, she’s 5-for-7 on the afternoon
OSU 40, IU 27 pic.twitter.com/EGVfwL8P7G
— Indiana Women’s Basketball (@IndianaWBB) January 13, 2018
“Attacking was working,” Penn said. “Just keep looking for looks, making the right decisions. I turned it over a lot, so that hurt us, but making the right decisions and continuing doing that.”
As of late, Penn has struggled. Coming into Saturday’s game against Ohio State, the freshman was shooting just 35.5 percent. But when her team needed her to step up, she did just that. Penn wasn’t able to help her team all the way back into the ballgame, but they were within striking distance.
Aside from the turnovers, the performance has to give her confidence. The Louisville native was aggressive getting into the lane and drawing contact. Draining a three-pointer early in the second quarter also had to help her confidence.
Against an Ohio State team that nearly scores at will, someone had to step up. Saturday, it was Penn.
“I thought Jaelynn Penn was really good,” IU coach Teri Moren said. “She was aggressive although she leads us in turnovers… Jaelynn was pretty great today. I just wish that we could consistently have better scoring from all of our positions.”
The Hoosiers got 20 points from freshman Jaelynn Penn, but they were defeated 77-62 by Ohio State. Coach Moren is looking for less turnovers and more consistency. Here is @AustinRender with the story #iuwbb pic.twitter.com/T8Q6vOjZPW
— The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) January 13, 2018
Life will have to go on without Buss and Cahill at the conclusion of the season. With the play of Penn Saturday, there are signs that she can step up her role next season. The Hoosiers will be a deeper team next season just based on eligible players. However, the Hoosiers will need a leader. Penn could be a candidate based on her play on the floor.
Other players getting a year older, like fellow freshman guard, Bendu Yeaney will aid Penn. Yet, her accolades out of high school speak to her being a big time contributor a season from now. She was the 2017 Gatorade Kentucky Player of the Year along with being the second-highest rated recruit amongst the Big Ten entering this season.
The hype is there with Penn. If she can follow up her performance against Ohio State with similar outings, there is no reason why Penn can’t be IU’s go-to scorer in the future.
“Today, I think you get an idea of – she’s very promising as far as being in our program and being a kid who can score the ball,” Moren said. “We just need her to be more consistent.”