Bloomington, ID — It was a senior celebration in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall Wednesday evening as the Indiana veterans left it all on the court to outlast Iowa in a double overtime win for the Hoosiers, 80-77.
Indiana got the win they desperately needed as they inch closer to an at-large NCAA tournament bid. It was a thriller for the final home game for the Hoosiers, and it gave fans a taste of that mid-March Madness craziness they were craving.
To set the scene, Indiana honored five seniors: Jenn Anderson, Amber Deane, Alexis Gassion, Karlee McBride, and Tyshee Towner. Indiana and Iowa were waiting to see whose bubble would pop.
The game began with Iowa jumping ahead and shooting lights out for pretty much the entire first half, nearly 70 percent in fact. However, Indiana’s Anderson came out hot keeping the Hoosiers within spitting distance. Indiana has always played its best when they are aggressive on the inside, and that’s exactly how Anderson played. She ended her senior night with 20 points and six rebounds.
Iowa held the lead the first 20 minutes of the game, 39-35, and were outshooting the Hoosiers at 60 percent from the field. Meanwhile, Indiana had zero points off the bench from the five girls that entered in the first half.
But the Hoosiers came back with a vengeance in the first few minutes of the third quarter. They tied it up finally at 45, and then it was a game of ties and lead changes from there on.
It was a strange game after the initial tie by Indiana, with a lot of back and forth matched scoring battles and then long scoring droughts from both sides, thus keeping the score unbelievably close.
Iowa’s 22 turnovers are arguably what left Indiana with a fighting chance. Although the Hoosiers were not able to capitalize on all of those opportunities, they were able to count on Tyra Buss at the 3-point line, and she hit some lucky last second shots to keep the game alive.
The Hawkeyes had the ball with 20 seconds remaining in regulation with the game tied, again, at 61. Doyle passed it out to Alexa Kastank, who sank a three-pointer and made Assembly Hall fall silent. That left 3.4 seconds on the clock for the Hoosiers to hit one themselves.
Amanda Cahill did just that. She got the ball at the top of the key from an inbound pass and hit an unbelievable three-ball with several defenders in her face. This sent the crowd to their feet, and the game into it’s first set of extra minutes.
"They were all giving each other good juice like 'We're going to hit the shot. We're going to go to overtime,'" Moren stated after the game on the team’s confidence surrounding the play drawn up for Cahill’s game-tying shot.
The first overtime started to look questionable for the Hoosiers as the Hawkeyes pulled ahead, but more turnovers from Iowa kept Indiana in it. McBride sunk a big triple in the first overtime with 43 seconds remaining to tie the game at 73. Several sloppy possessions and missed shots from both sides sent the game into a second overtime.
In double-overtime, Indiana led 80-75 with one minute to play, but a turnover from Indiana allowed Doyle to lay one in for the Hawkeyes. However, Indiana subbed in defensive specialist, Towner, to help Cahill block a final three-point attempt by Iowa’s Kastanek.
"I'm really, really pleased that we made it possible that they have not just a memory, but I think a very special memory that we created tonight for those guys,” said Moren on the elation the team felt after the big win for Indiana’s seniors.
Indiana’s Buss led the Hoosiers with 21 points, but fouled out of the game after surpassing 1,500 points. McBride scored 12 points, but her game-tying three-pointer as IU's shot clock expired in the first overtime was a monumental shot – the shot of the game.
For the Hawkeyes, Ally Disterhoft led with 23 points and joined the 2,000-point club. She is only the second Hawkeye in program history to reach that mark.