Dec. 31, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Senior Sarah McKay scored a game-high 23 points on 11-of-16 shooting to lead Indiana to a 71-58 win over Michigan on Branch McCracken Court in Assembly Hall on Dec. 31. The win improved IU's home record to 7-0.
The Hoosiers (12-3, 1-1) jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a Kim Roberson layup within the first six seconds of the first half, only to see the Wolverines (7-8, 0-2) answer with a layup by Krista Phillips. Another Michigan layup, this time by Kelly Helvey, put the Wolverines up by two, 4-2, at the 19:22 mark. Indiana recovered with a 12-6 run to take a 16-10 lead with 9:35 remaining in the half. A layup by Sireece Bass halted the IU run and Michigan cut the lead to two, 16-14, on a Phillips layup with 8:25 left in the half. A 3-pointer by Nikki Smith at the 7:49 mark ignited a 21-15 Hoosier run as Indiana went into the break leading 37-29.
IU broke out in the second half and increased its lead to 12 by way of back-to-back layups from Leah Enterline (19:07) and McKay (17:24) for a 41-29 lead. However, the Wolverines answered with a layup and a free throw by Melinda Queen with 16:24 remaining on the clock. A free throw from Michigan's Carly Benson cut the Hoosiers' lead to eight, 41-33, with 15:54 to go. A layup by McKay at the 14:47 mark sparked a 10-4 Indiana run, which increased the Hoosiers' advantage to 51-37 with 10:06 left in the game. Michigan answered with back-to-back jumpers from Kalyn McPherson and Phillips, but it wasn't enough as the Hoosiers were able to maintain at least an eight-point advantage for the remainder of play en route to their 71-58 victory.
Indiana outshot Michigan, 39.3 percent (24-of-61) to 35.0 percent (21-of-60), and also held the advantage on the boards, 47-41. The Hoosiers forced the Wolverines to commit 13 turnovers while turning the ball over 11 times themselves, which tied a season low (11 vs. Valparaiso, 11/15). The Hoosiers outscored Michigan in the paint, 34-22, and netted 18 points off of Wolverine turnovers.
In addition to leading all scorers, McKay added seven rebounds and two blocked shots in the win. Smith scored 11 points on two 3-pointers and 5-of-6 shooting from the free throw line. She also added a career-high six assists, while Roberson led all players as she tied a career high with nine rebounds.
Benson led the Wolverines with 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the floor, including two 3-pointers and a free throw.
Indiana will return to the hardwood when it hosts No. 20/21 Michigan State on Thursday, Jan. 4. Tip off against the Spartans is at 7:05 p.m. EST.
Head Coach Felisha Legette-Jack
"What a great team win. We played well, we played hard and we stayed focused. We played intense basketball because the game was a microcosm of what we looked like in practice the last two days. We got more focused in practice and the outcome was indicative of the hard work that we did the last couple of days. We're really proud of all of our kids' effort. Michigan really gave a valiant effort, but we were totally invested. Like our saying goes, the team that's the most invested is going to be the last to surrender."
On rebounding and getting second chance points:
"We're relentless. Jamie (Braun) did a great job offensively on the board for us. Her shot wasn't falling, but as a rookie last semester, she would look at it and then say `let me go in.' This game she took shots, she didn't hesitate, she saw where it came off and she gave us a valiant effort to tap it or tip it or try to get opportunities for us. That allowed everyone else to do the same thing. We went to the boards today, we perused the rebounds."
On the team strategy against Michigan:
"They threw in 12 players, they had healthy, strong legs, and our guards got tired because we had to try to get them off, try to use screens. We said that our shots weren't falling, if you're open, still take them, but if not, attack the basket. What we did today is something we haven't done in a while, we got to the free throw line a lot. That has to be our motto, have an attack mode mindset and it hasn't been that way the last couple of games. It was really neat to see us attack more."
On the fans:
"Our fan base is really growing and they energize us and their energy creates energy for our team. When we're a synergized team, we're really a tough team to play. Our fans are doing a great job. It's always fun to play in front of a home base. I can't wait to see the Cream and Crimson because it does something for our team. Our team today, we just took open shots and we didn't hesitate. Our team did a good job of going after the rebound and empowering each other to shoot it. The fans give us that little bit of oomph that when you're think your tired, they get all riled up and stuff, and encourage us to go a little bit harder."
On the defense:
"I thought Leah (Enterline) did a great job defensively, but Nikki (Smith) is really playing great defense and really not allowing people to penetrate the middle of our defense. We did a great job of boxing out. I think that we could be one of the top three teams in the conference in the rebounding category. We haven't done that lately, but I think that we can get rebounds if we're not scoring. That's our goal. Our goal is to be one of the top three teams in the conference in the rebounding category, and we made an assertive effort today, from all of us. This is the best post defense I've seen Sarah play all season."
Senior center Sarah McKay
On coming back to win after the loss:
"We got back to playing Indiana basketball, and that's what we've been working on the last two days in practice. The loss is behind us and we are focusing on getting better every day and not letting anything hold us back."
On getting tired during the game:
"We have to dig inside of us and its there. You think you're tired and you run up and down hard for a couple more possessions and Coach will notice if you need a sub or not. We can push past that."