Women's Basketball

    Hoosiers Top Iona in WNIT Second Round, 74-71

    Go Hoosiers! Junior Nikki Smith scored 18 points as Indiana topped the Gaels of Iona on Monday.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Junior Nikki Smith scored 18 points as Indiana topped the Gaels of Iona on Monday.
    Go Hoosiers!

    March 19, 2007

    Box Score

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Junior Nikki Smith scored a team-high 18 points to pace four Hoosiers in double figures as Indiana beat Iona 74-71 in the second round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) at Assembly Hall on Monday, March 19.

    Smith earned her 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor, 2-of-4 beyond the arc and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line. Sophomore Kim Roberson added 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the floor with a 3-pointer, and registered three steals off the bench. Senior Sarah McKay netted 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting and added a team-high nine rebounds to go along with three steals and three assists, while senior Leah Enterline scored 10 points and added six rebounds in the win.

    Down by six, 42-36, with 16:23 remaining in the game, the Hoosiers (19-13) put together a 7-0 run to take their first lead since the 14:16 mark in the first half. A 3-pointer by Smith sparked the run that included a basket by Whitney Thomas and a layup from McKay to take the 43-42 lead. A pair of free throws by Tiara Headen gave Iona (21-13) a one-point lead, but a McKay layup sent Indiana on an 18-11 run that put the Hoosiers on top, 61-55, with 8:37 remaining in the game. Iona and Indiana battled throughout the final eight minutes of the contest, as the Gaels cut the Hoosiers lead to just one, 72-71, with 18 seconds remaining. However, a pair of free throws from Smith iced the three-point Hoosier win.

    With a closely contested first seven-plus minutes of the game, the Gaels used a 10-2 run to take a 21-14 lead with 10:10 remaining in the first half. A pair of free throws from Jamie Braun stopped Iona's surge and ignited a 6-0 Indiana run that cut the visitor's lead to just one, 21-20, with 8:45 to go. A layup from Martina Weber increased Iona's lead to three, as the Gaels put together a 12-4 run to regain a seven-point advantage, 32-25, with 3:53 left in the half. A pair of free throws by McKay put the Hoosiers within five, but a layup from Anna McLean kept the deficit at seven, 34-27. Back-to-back layups by Roberson sent the Hoosiers into the break with some momentum, but down by three, 34-31.



    The Hoosiers held a 33-31 advantage on the boards and registered 11 steals off of 21 Iona turnovers. Iona shot 55.8 percent (29-of-52) from the floor, while Indiana shot 40.3 percent (25-of-62) from the field on the game.

    Weber led all players with 32 points on 13-of-17 shooting from the floor and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. Headen also reached double figures with 13 points, while adding a team-high nine rebounds.

    Indiana will hit the road to face South Dakota State in the third round of the WNIT on Thursday, March 22 at 8 p.m. ET in Frost Arena in Brookings, S.D. Thursday night's battle between the Hoosiers and Jackrabbits is sold out.

    Indiana vs. Iona
    WNIT Second Round
    March 19, 2007

    Indiana head coach Felisha Legette-Jack

    Opening statement:
    "Seven strong. Sensational seven. Whatever it takes. The heart of a lion. This team doesn't know how to surrender. This is a fun team to coach. These are fun young women to be around. We have fought and faced adversity and we have fought through the adversity and we pushed down the wall. Today we beat a good team. Iona is a fantastic team. They have a great senior-driven team. But our seniors said they're not ready to go home yet, and so we're going to take a trip to South Dakota and continue to play. As long as these two cats on my right continue to play, we'll continue to bring success to our women's basketball program. I'm very proud of this team tonight."

    On whether getting the first WNIT win gets the monkey off the team's back:
    "No monkey on our backs. We were the underdogs all season. The face of our team came from our administration on down to our program. That's all we really had believing in us. There was nobody that said that we were going to be a top-three program in this conference. We never had the monkey, so we played with such freedom and the ability to just go out there and have some fun with this game of basketball and learn the life lessons, so we're excited."

    On Kim Roberson's steal in the waning seconds:
    "Kim's a smart player. I tell you, you know, a lot of players would take that shot and get their stats up. But she's such a team player. She knows the clock is our friend and so we would want to run the clock out. She can read the defense so well. I'm really proud of her intelligence. Her IQ of basketball is very high."

    On the leadership of the seniors:
    "I think that our general set the pace of the game. Leah (Enterline) came out today like I've never seen before. She played with a sense of urgency. She was not going to let it falter. She was going to say, "If you guys aren't going to do it, I'm going to attack the basket, I'm going to find a way." She reminded me of how (Earl) Calloway played against UCLA the last game. He played with a sense of urgency. We just fed off of Leah. We decided that if Leah was going to play like that, we were going to go after the defense a little more aggressively and see what we can do. If she sets the tone, then we go very far in this tournament."

    Indiana senior Sarah McKay

    On playing against Martina Weber:
    "I just thought about our game plan. It's the way we worked on our defense all practice. Since we scouted Iona, we knew what we wanted to do with them. She's a very good player. She's very strong, very athletic, talented. I'm glad that I got a chance to play against her."

    Indiana junior Nikki Smith

    On the motivation to play:
    "Coach always talks about passion. It's just the will to play one more day. We always want to play for our seniors. We love them. We don't want to have the year end yet. It's just all about having fun out there. This is the best time of the year. It's March and you play with everything you've got because you don't know if it will be your last game."


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