BLOOMINGTON, IN (WFIE) - In a tale of two halves, Indiana bounced back from slow first half to avenge its earlier loss to Wisconsin this season, 67-57.
On the first play of Indiana's game against Wisconsin, head coach Teri Moren saw something she didn't like.
The Badgers grabbed two offensive boards on their opening possession — and to Moren, it was an early indication of what lay ahead.
She knew her team, who had outrebounded opponents in six of the last seven games, would be in trouble if they weren't able to crash the glass.
"We didn't like that at all," she said. "You're not going to win a lot of games that you don't win the battle of the boards."
Moren was right.
The Hoosiers were outrebounded 26-14 in the first half, and failed pull in a single offensive board. They went into locker with a six-point deficit and a list of adjustments to be made.
One: increase the tempo. Two: disrupt Wisconsin's offense. And three: get in the offensive glass. The Hoosiers were able to put a check mark next to every adjustment on that list in the final 20 minutes.
It started with eight consecutive second-half points by sophomore guard Tyra Buss.
"Coach's halftime talk, the majority of it was, 'We need get it and go,'" she said. "Because the first half we played like how we played the whole game against them at their place."
Buss, IU's court general, was able to push the tempo in transition, converting a three-point play on Indiana's first possession of the half.
Her energy sparked a 17-4 run by Indiana in the third quarter to retake the lead, and helped open up scoring for startersJenn Anderson and Alexis Gassion, who were held scoreless in the first half.
They finished with a combined 12 points, while Buss finished with a game-high 24 points and one rebound shy of a double-double in a full 40 minutes of play.
"We got kind of stagnant," sophomore forward Amanda Cahill said. "Tyra did a really good job pushing, and that helped us."
On the flip side, the Hoosiers were able to hold Wisconsin starter Nicole Bauman — who exploited Indiana for 24 points in the teams' first meeting — scoreless in the second half, an effort Moren credited to Gassion, Blauman's primary defender.
The Hoosiers (16-9, 9-5) didn't allow the Badgers (7-17, 3-11) to make a three-point shot in the second half, and ticked off the final box on the checklist, outrebounding the Badgers 8-3 on the offensive glass in that span.
"They got a little frazzled," Buss said. "They couldn't run their offense, and that was our goal."
The second-half comeback gives Indiana its fourth straight win, the program's longest Big Ten win streak since 2008-09, and its seventh win in the last eight games.
The Hoosiers improve to 9-5 in the Big Ten and 12-0 in Assembly Hall, where they will meet Minnesota on Thursday to battle for third place in the conference standings.
"It's really important that I try to manage these guys down the stretch, but I also have to keep demanding from them excellence," Moren said. "There's still room for us to improve and get better, and that was obvious today. But I'll tell you this —
"We're going to show up and play much better against Minnesota."