The minute you walked into Assembly Hall on Saturday, you could tell there was a different type of energy in the building.
Indiana came in riding a six game win streak and were playing a Nebraska team still alive for a conference title. But it was neither of those things that brought over 5,000 fans to the arena.
Saturday was Senior Day for Tyra Buss and Amanda Cahill, two of the best players in IU women’s basketball history. It was fitting they got to share the day as they have shared the court and the spotlight the past four seasons.
— Austin Render (@AustinRender) February 17, 2018
It made the afternoon that much better when the Hoosiers won their seventh straight, taking down Nebraska, 83-75.
“We knew what was the most important thing, and that was beating Nebraska,” Buss said. “We were really prepared and that’s what our focus was. Yeah, it was a special day because it was our senior day and it was our last game at Assembly Hall, but before the game, it was all business.”
The minute the game started, you could tell both Buss and Cahill were ready to go. Buss finished with 37 points, one point shy of her career high. Cahill finished with another double-double of 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks, a career high.
But at the 5:33 mark of the third quarter, it looked like there would be a damper on the day’s events. Buss was boxing out Nebraska’s Jasmine Cincore when Buss ended up on the floor. The arena fell silent and it looked like her day could be done.
Buss said later she wasn’t worried about what happened, however. She said it would just take her a few moments to get up. After a few exercises with trainer Robert Black, she was back in the game.
“I’ve seen that so many times,” Moren said. “It would take more than a bump… There was absolutely no question in my mind, it was just a matter of time before she popped back up and gave me the nod that she was ready to go back in.”
When Moren arrived in Bloomington four years ago, both Cahill and Buss were faced with a dilemma. They were entering their freshman season with a coach that didn’t recruit them. It was something they both mentioned in the videos they narrated postgame.
As the story goes, they stuck it out in Bloomington. It seems to have worked out for all parties involved.
“I can speak for Amanda about this too, we’ve worked extremely hard for this,” Buss said. “We’ve played every single game together since our freshman year and you can tell we’ve grown each year and gotten better each year.”
Moren said she told her staff before the game that she expected a slow start. She was right. But emotions were running high. Buss and Cahill were presented with framed jerseys before the game and walked onto the floor with their families.
But as the game progressed, it was neck and neck. In a game and a day like Saturday, there are always moments that seem to stick out. Late in the fourth quarter and the game still in the balance, Buss found Cahill for a big three-pointer. It was an appropriate cap to the game as the Hoosiers coasted from there on out.
“Cahill had great looks,” Moren said. “In spite of her going 3-for-10 from the three-point line, the one that she hit going down the stretch was huge for us. You just keep telling her to keep shooting.”
With Indiana’s play as of late, they could be making a push towards a WNIT bid or maybe even the NCAA Tournament. There are no guarantees. But what is guaranteed is the incredible impact that Buss and Cahill left on the program they came into four years ago.
“I’m really proud of the work Amanda and I have done,” Buss said. “We both even say we came here to make a difference and change the program and build it up to what it deserves to be and I think we’ve done a good job.”