"Heart means playing at home one last time". And just like water always finds its level, Hoosiers are finding their basketball. West Virginia, which averages seven 3s a game, had just four in the game.
Senior guard Tyra Buss scored 22 points to lead five IU players in double figures Wednesday night as in broke open a close game in the third quarter and cruised to a 71-58 victory over TCU in semifinal action at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
IU will host Virginia Tech in the WNIT championship game Saturday afternoon at Assembly Hall.
6-foot-3 center Jordan Moore was averaging 17.8 points per game in the tournament heading into Wednesday's matchup; shooting 30-of-35 (86-percent) from the floor. They had not led since the first quarter. IU turned consecutive TCU turnovers into fast break points and a 7-0 run gave the Hoosiers an 8-point cushion.
Senior Tyra Buss played all 40 minutes and scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Hoosiers to the WNIT final for the first time since 1991.
It was a balanced attack for the Hoosiers on night. Jaelynn Penn, Bendu Yeaney and Kym Roster all reached double figures as well. The lead swelled to 10, then 13. Cahill added 3 steals. TCU came back with a three-pointer and a 27-22 score before the Hoosiers settled for a 32-28 halftime lead. The Horned Frogs shot only 34.8% on the game.
"We didn't step up on that 3", WVU coach Mike Carey said.
"There are six teams still playing and we're one of them", senior guard Tyra Buss said. The Hoosiers also dominated on the glass, with a 38-19 rebounding edge.
IN (21-14) defeated UC Davis 81-66 in the Women's National Invitation Tournament quarterfinal round. That crowd was a season high, and a mark that stood for exactly 3 days. 7,815 were there Wednesday to watch IU advance to the championship.
"When we first ran out, it kinda gave me chills a little bit", Cahill said, "It's just really special seeing all the support around Bloomington". And who could blame them? "There were a few times during the game it so loud that we could hardly hear". It is supposed to be the island of misfits tournament, or the not-invited tournament if you prefer.
Although Romeo has yet to make official plans with either the Kansas Jayhawks or the Vanderbilt Commodores, he did confirm that a meeting has been set up with the Indiana Hoosiers to, as he puts it, "give them the last word".
It wasn't the cleanest game IN has played this season, as the Hoosiers ended the game with 16 turnovers.
5,564 fans were in attendance for the third-round matchup against Purdue. Now we don't raise this to somehow compare the men's and women's programs.
Horned Frogs buckled, and the crowd cheered at unprecedented decibel levels for an IN women's game. And, they are facing a team they already saw in the regular season. This 2018 women's team is on a mission. IU opened 2-for-10 from the field.
Indiana's defense has continued to improve as the season has progressed. You're going to hit the game-winning shot.
Now it all comes down to this.
Buss admitted again after the game that IU was disappointed when it didn't receive an NCAA bid, but the way the WNIT has played out couldn't have worked out better. "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 basketball careers on a win".
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