Last night the Hoosiers had a battle on their hands. The Hoosiers hosted conference rival Northwestern in Bloomington in the Sweet Sixteen and had to battle the entire game. It really seemed to be an emotional night in Bloomington as a packed house crowded in to watch what has been a pretty magical Lady Hoosiers team fight it out perhaps one last time.
Indiana spent the entire night in a hole battling with the Wildcats who finished tied with the Hoosiers for 8th in the conference. On average the lead for the Wildcats was competing for double digits most of the night. But the Hoosiers kept in it the whole night. It all came down to a furious run by the Hoosiers with just under 2 minutes to go. Clutch threes and key drives resulted in the game coming down to the final few possessions as the Hoosiers were down 1 with 30 seconds to go.
For a team that has been experiencing a youth movement it feels most appropriate for the ones to have been there for the long haul to seal the game. Senior Tabitha Gerardot found a softness in the Northwestern perimeter forcing the post to come over and double team. The double left Simone Deloach all alone on the block. A simple bounce pass into the block game Deloach all the space necessary to hit a wide open layup. With 11 seconds remaining, the Hoosiers led for the first time all game. With a jump shot going begging on the ensuing possession, Indiana's defensive rebound sealed the game.
Indiana has now moved to 21-12, tying a school record for most wins in a season. Coach Curt Miller, in his second year at Indiana, has cemented his support from the fan base and the culture of the squad is on the rise. Indiana's star freshmen Larryn Brooks led all scorers with 27 points. She now has 60 in the last two games. This squad continues to impress as they were picked to be bottom feeders in the conference. With the way Indiana is battling in the NIT, you've got to think that the Hoosiers are in for something special within the next year or two. They lose a ton of size next year, but there are some freshmen ready to step in to fill that void.
But let's not get to talking too much about next year. The Hoosiers still have work to do this. They now travel to South Dakota to take on South Dakota State in the Elite Eight. The Jack Rabbits have already knocked off conference rivals Minnesota and will be working to take out their next Big Ten opponent. My guess is that Curt Miller and company have something to say about that.
**For the highlights from last night check out the silky smooth voice of Jeremy Gray and his play by play highlights here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqqZ-sQp1Bo&feature=youtu.be