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Senior Night: Your Last Chance

It’s obvious that women’s basketball doesn’t get the love that men’s basketball does at maybe every university but UConn. The women can’t dunk, there are more blowouts, and the same teams seem to win every season.

Indiana women’s basketball isn’t a historically great program. It’s not on the level of UConn or Tennessee or Notre Dame. The Hoosiers have only won the Big Ten Tournament once (2002).

The men’s team dominates the headlines at Indiana. Even when they struggle, they will still attract the attention of most students on campus and most media members attached to IU basketball.

However, this weekend should be all about the women’s team. Yes, the men’s team plays at Iowa Saturday at 2 p.m., and most people will tune their TV’s to ESPN and watch the Hoosiers go for four straight. But, the women’s team plays at noon, and that game is much more important than anything the men’s team could do this weekend.

They’re not only going for their seventh straight win, but it’s the final home game for two of the best players in the history of IU women’s basketball. It’s the last home game for one of the most dynamic duos to ever step foot on the Bloomington campus. It’s the final home game for Tyra Buss and Amanda Cahill.

Tyra Buss

Buss’ list of accomplishments would be impossible to put into perspective. She has set records left and right in Assembly Hall and has been honored for a different achievement before what seems like every home game.

Buss became the all-time leader in IU women’s basketball history in career points (2,119 and counting) and steals (269 and counting). She’s 13 assists away from becoming the all-time leader in career assists in program history.

In this six-game win streak, Buss has averaged 21 PPG, nearly 5 APG, and just had 5 steals in their win over Purdue. She’s averaging 19.9 PPG and 4.7 APG this season.

While she’s been an incredible staple on the court for IU, she’s also been the face of the program for four straight years. Fans line up after every game to get an autograph from one of, if not the best player to ever step foot in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

“I came here to be a program changer,” Buss said. “I wanted to help build the program up to what it’s supposed to be and what it needs to be.”

Her relationship with Amanda Cahill has blossomed into one of the best duos in all of college basketball. It’s important that while Buss gets so much attention, Cahill deserves her piece of the pie.

Amanda Cahill

Cahill has had to, at times, play in the shadow of Buss. While she has averaged double figures every season she’s been in Bloomington, Buss has always averaged more.

Even with that, Cahill has been just as important to this program as Buss. Cahill has transformed the 4-position for IU, being the ideal stretch-4 that Teri Moren has always wanted.

Cahill is averaging nearly 18 PPG and 8 RPG in the Hoosiers’ six-game win streak. On the season, Cahill is not only averaging 8.2 RPG this season, but she’s shooting the three-ball at 40 percent. She’s made more threes this season than Buss has.

Not only is Cahill effective in scoring, rebounding and shooting, but her decision making is top notch. Coach Moren is never afraid of Cahill taking a bad shot.

“There’s really not a bad shot she can take for our program or our team,” Moren said. “She’s really headsy, makes good decisions normally. We just asked her to be more aggressive.”

Cahill has also reached milestones this season. She is just the third Hoosier to have 1,000 career rebounds (1,032 and counting, which is third all-time). She is also currently eighth on the all-time career scoring list at IU, with 1,706 points and counting.

Cahill, like Buss, has been incredible with the fans and has really been that face of the program along with Buss. It’s safe to say that this program won’t be the same without either one of these players, let alone both.

The Dynamic Duo

Why are these two so dominant together? They work so well together and have meant so much to the program. But why?

Their impact on Indiana goes beyond their play on the court. Moren took over the head coaching spot at IU four years ago and inherited these two stars as freshman. Moren has been able to watch them grow, not only in their games, but in their relationship with one another.

These two once-in-a-generation talents paired up with Alexis Gassion and led the Hoosiers back to the NCAA tournament in 2016, and after narrowly missing out on the NCAA tournament last season, they led the Hoosiers far in the WNIT.

This year has been different. At the beginning of the season, it was Cahill and Buss, and then who else? There was a sense of uncertainty around who would step up around the senior duo.

They’ve been monumental in the development of the freshman, such as Jaelynn Penn and Bendu Yeaney, and the improvement in junior forward Kym Royster’s play. After a 1-6 start in conference, the Hoosiers have rallied off six straight, and now sit at 7-6 in conference and 14-12 overall, thanks to the incredible play and leadership of the seniors.

“I always say this about seniors,” Moren said. “When you get into January and almost February, they see their window closing. Every day it gets a little lower. I think the sense of urgency that seniors end up playing with towards the end of the season is different than they do at the beginning of their senior year.”

Saturday, February 17 at Noon

Every senior deserves to have a special senior day. Every senior deserves to walk out with their parents and be honored for what they’ve done at their respective program. Cahill and Buss deserve something extra special.

How do you properly acknowledge and thank two players like Buss and Cahill for what they’ve done for IU over the past four years? How do you thank two outstanding talents for their play on the court and their attitudes off the court?

By filling Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

The capacity of the building is 17,222. The men’s team doesn’t get that for most of the season, so I’m not saying the place should be sold out. The average attendance for the men’s team is 15,387. The average for the women’s team is 3,090. There’s no reason that number can’t be at least doubled Saturday afternoon for two special players that don’t come around very often.

What are you doing this coming Saturday at noon? I’ll be at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall watching Tyra Buss and Amanda Cahill play their final home game of their careers.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Austin Render

I am a sophomore from Fort Wayne, Indiana majoring in Sports Media. Last year I worked with IUSTV Sports doing recap and feature packages for IU field hockey, women's basketball and baseball. I am one of the current WIUX Co-Sports Directors. I am a student broadcaster for WIUX as well as Big Ten Network Student U. You can reach me at austinrender99@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter @austinrender.

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