Buss, IU Women Bow Out of NCAA Tournament - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Buss, IU Women Bow Out of NCAA Tournament

SOUTH BEND, IN (WFIE) -

It has been a season of firsts for Indiana women's basketball.
 
First 20-win regular season. First 14-0 finish in Assembly Hall. First NCAA Tournament bid in 14 years, and first tournament win in 33.
 
That run to ended Monday at the hands of top seed and No. 2/3 overall team in the country Notre Dame, who moved past Indiana 87-70 in a game that cannot be expressed by its final score.
 
"Some would say it's a 17-point loss," head coach Teri Moren said. "But everyone sitting here knows it was never a 17-point game."
 
Indiana (21-12) did everything it could to continue its historic turnaround season. The Hoosiers were able to accomplish what few other teams in the country had against the 33-1 Irish, making it a contest through the first three quarters.
 
IU's fight started with junior guard Karlee McBride, who hit four threes in the first half and spearheaded the Hoosiers to a program-best seven treys in the NCAA Tournament. Indiana led Notre Dame for three and a half minute stretch in the first quarter and pulled within one in the second.
 
In the third quarter, the Hoosiers went on a 12-1 run, fueled by six points from junior guard Alexis Gassion. Indiana trailed by two with 2:29 in the period before Notre Dame closed out the game on a 31-16 run of its own.
 
"We never gave up," Gassion said. "We held our composure. There were times they went on runs, but we just kept fighting."
 
Notre Dame's strategy from the get-go was to contain sophomore point guard and leading scorer Tyra Buss, who entered the game second in the nation in free throw attempts and 38th in scoring. She and second-leading scorer Amanda Cahillcombined for 20 points, while upperclassmen Gassion and McBride stepped up to lead Indiana with 17 points apiece in their stead.
 
With starting junior center Jenn Anderson out for most of the first half with three fouls, freshman center Kym Royster took on a difficult matchup against Notre Dame leading scorer and Full Court Press National Freshman of the Year Brianna Turner. Royster held her own, laying in 10 points and nabbing 10 rebounds for her second career double-double.
 
"I thought a bright spot was our five spot," Moren said. "Turner's a difficult match-up for anybody in the country."
 
Buss nailed a three-pointer with two seconds remaining to keep her 37-game double digit scoring streak alive. The shot tallied IU's final score of 70, making Indiana just the seventh team to score 70 or more against the Irish this season.
 
The loss ends what Moren has to believe will be the first of many postseason runs for Indiana, who returns all of its starters next year. In just 12 months, the Hoosiers climbed eight spots in the Big Ten and improved their record by six wins in the Big Ten Coach of the Year's second year.

"We got a taste of what the NCAA Tournament was about," Moren said. "We want more."
 
As the remaining two seconds ticked off and the buzzer sounded on Indiana's season, players and staff embraced on the court. Tears were shed as a group that came together to usher in arguably the best campaign in the history of Indiana women's basketball.
 
But that end is only temporary. What these Hoosiers have accomplished will last for seasons to come.
 
"It definitely makes us want to work harder," McBride said. "We stuck with the No. 3 team in the country for three quarters, and that should give us the most motivation ever.
 
"We're going to take a little time, and then get right back at it."

Courtesy:  IUHoosiers.com   Copyright 2016, WFIE, All rights reserved.

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