One month ago, the Indiana women’s basketball team was dead in the water, having dropped three-straight contests to ranked Big Ten foes, dropping them to 8-12 overall and just 1-6 in Big Ten play
Since, the Hoosiers have pieced together the most impressive stretch of the season with an eight-game win streak with Tyra Buss putting together arguably the greatest stretch of her career.
It’s rare to have one player unanimously regarded as the best player in a program’s history. It’s rarer that person be a present-day player. But with the Hoosier women’s program, Buss is piecing together the magnum opus of her storied career the last month.
In a season where she has ascended countless career statistical lists for Indiana, Buss has shined bright at the end of the season. Over the eight-game win streak, she’s averaged 25 points, 4.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds, which includes a trio of 30-point games.
In a five-point overtime win over Northwestern during this streak, Buss put up 31 points in a game where she played 44 minutes. For those counting at home, that’s all but one minute of the game.
Three games later, she nearly set a career high with 37 points on Senior Night in what was potentially her final game in Assembly Hall against Nebraska. And then, on Tuesday, Buss’ finest performance of the year saw her put up 36-7-5 on 7/14 shooting from three against Minnesota. On the road.
The win tied a program record for consecutive Big Ten wins. It was also IU’s second top-50 RPI win this year and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Indiana’s NCAA tourney resume was hanging on a thread a month ago.
Now? The Hoosiers are 52nd in RPI heading into one last road game against Iowa, which would represent their third potential top-50 RPI win. It certainly isn’t the lone factor, but RPI careers a lot of weight in women’s basketball and the Hoosiers are boosting their resume at the best time possible.
What isn’t in doubt, though, is the legacy Buss is leaving in her final games as a Hoosier.
Currently, Buss is tied for the third-most points in basketball history at Indiana University, men’s and women’s combined. Her lead atop the women’s scoring leaderboard is nearing 300 points and is a mark that surely won’t be touched soon. She will likely finish with upwards of 2,200 points with the only players to don the candy stripes to score more than her being Calbert Cheaney and Steve Alford.
Buss already is first in free throws made and attempted and will likely finish in the top five in field goals made. She sits third in three-point field goals and is one off second place.
Her legacy isn’t just in scoring, either. She’s tied for first in assists with 533 and is first in steals.
Essentially, just about anywhere you look on the Indiana Hoosier record book, you’re going to find Buss’ name.
Largely because of Buss, the Hoosiers’ tournament chances are still alive this year. And largely because of Buss, the Hoosier program has experienced a revival in her career.
As her time in cream and crimson quickly comes to an end, it’s important to enjoy the final moments of Buss’ career. There may never be one like her again.