The winningest senior class in Indiana women’s basketball program history of Tyra Buss and Amanda Cahill are one win away from hanging a banner in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Only Virginia Tech stands in their way of a WNIT championship.
The WNIT crowds have been some of the largest in program history and have made some of the loudest roars all season. However, the loudest cheer of the WNIT may have come after the semifinal, when public address announcer Chuck Crabb announced that Virginia Tech would be coming to Bloomington Saturday at 3 p.m.
“For everybody to stick around the way they did… that was a pretty cool moment not just for our basketball team but for our university,” IU coach Teri Moren said.
On February 17, Indiana defeated Nebraska 83-75, led by Buss’ 37 points on a special senior night for two of the best players in IU history.
Fast forward over a month to March 31. After receiving five bonus home games throughout the WNIT, Indiana will get one last opportunity to play in front of their home crowd, and the crowd will have one last chance to watch Buss and Cahill play.
“It’s kind of like senior day, round two,” Buss said, “We get to be on our home floor, in front of our home crowd one last time. And we want to go out with a win because not a lot of people get to say they end their college careers with a win.”
The list of milestones and records reached and broken by this senior class is almost too long to list. Buss is the program leader in career points, assists, steals, and free throws made, while Cahill has over 1,000 points and rebounds, only the third Hoosier to reach such numbers.
The win Wednesday night added one more accolade to the list. Buss and Cahill are now the all-time winningest senior class in the history of the program, with 81 wins. They’ve won 55 times at home, an 80-percent winning percentage.
If they could get win number 82 and hang a banner, it would be the most fitting way for two players this great to finish their careers.
“For Tyra and B to be able to walk out of here with a win would be really special,” Moren said.
Indiana’s opponent, Virginia Tech, was 6-10 in the ACC this season, but at 23-13 overall have rallied throughout the WNIT and are coming off a 74-71 road win at West Virginia Wednesday night.
It won’t be easy to win in Bloomington. The crowds have shown up throughout the WNIT. 5,564 fans were in the building to watch IU defeat Purdue in the third round. Over 6,000 attended Indiana’s quarterfinal win over UC-Davis. Then on Wednesday, 7,815 watched Indiana defeat TCU in the semifinal, the fourth highest attendance in women’s basketball history.
On Saturday, Coach Moren thinks the attendance record of 10,022 could be broken.
“Now the goal becomes, 2004 we had 10,000 people. 2018 we need to have 12,000 people,” Moren said. “That’s the challenge for Bloomington and Indianapolis and the surrounding areas to come out and support this team on Saturday.”
This would also be the first championship Moren has brought to Bloomington since she began her tenure at IU in 2014. With a win over Virginia Tech, the Hoosiers will win their first ever WNIT championship.
“We’ve always talked about winning championships here,” Moren said, “As I’ve said before, championships come in a variety of different ways, and we have an opportunity to win a championship on Saturday.”