For most of Saturday afternoon at Assembly Hall, the offense just seemed to be stuck.
IU coach Teri Moren said they could never really get in a rhythm on offense. Shots weren’t falling often for neither the Hoosiers nor the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. But when the Hoosiers needed a big bucket, senior Amanda Cahill and junior Kym Royster gave the Hoosiers a lift, combining for 28 points.
Moren said it was a complete team effort as the Hoosiers took down the Scarlet Knights, 64-58, to win their third straight game.
“Backcourt, frontcourt, it doesn’t matter,” Moren said. “It’s an overall effort with our group. It’s always collective. There’s not one kid or group that stands out more, it takes all of them.”
On a day where senior Tyra Buss broke the IU steals record and was only three-of-thirteen from the field, someone else needed to step up. The Hoosiers have relied on Buss for most of the season, and she did score 12 points, but the afternoon belonged to the frontcourt.
Royster has been one of the most improved players in the Big Ten this season. Coming into Saturday’s matchup, she had been averaging 10.7 points per game to go along with just over six boards. After two years of ups and downs, it finally seems like it’s paying off for the junior from Newark, Ohio.
END OF 3Q: Royster there to clean up and she gets her second 3-point play of the quarter! She's leading #iuwbb with 13 points
Rutgers 49, IU 46 pic.twitter.com/xrvmf8N2tY
— Indiana Women’s Basketball (@IndianaWBB) January 27, 2018
“The coaches tell me all the time they can see the improvement,” Royster said. “I often think about that as well. I think that comes from the confidence standpoint that I always come back to, being one of the three upperclassmen, that helps.”
Her improvements haven’t been lost on her teammates either. Royster said she has been working with assistant coach Rhet Wierzba in the film room, as well. Cahill scored 14 points herself against Rutgers. Still, she has seen Royster’s improvements first hand this season.
“Kym’s been playing awesome,” Cahill said. “Especially this offseason, she’s put in a lot of work… The confidence has really stepped up. She’s always been capable, but it’s really showing in games. Tonight she came up huge.”
Moren said she has struggled in the past few games and hasn’t played up to the level they expect her to play. However, the extra time in the gym and in the film room has seemed to have paid off. Moren went on to say that she was more aggressive Saturday.
Sometimes Royster can get into struggles. Moren mentioned the games against Michigan and Maryland, in particular. Moren conintued by saying that she’d like to see more consistency.
“Everyone’s trying to give her good juice right now making sure that she realizes and knows that we believe in her and we need her,” Moren said. “The maturity level that we have to get to with Kym is, if your shot’s not going to fall, you still have to do your job defensively for us and we’ll find other players who will hopefully score the ball for us. She’s really important.”