Jill Chapman and the Hoosiers take on TCU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Bloomington, Ind. - The Indiana women's basketball team will open NCAA tournament play when it battles Texas Christian University at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The Hoosiers (17-13 overall), who drew the ninth seed in the East Region, will take on the eighth-seeded Horned Frogs (23-6 overall) at 6:06 p.m. on Friday, March 15 in a game televised nationally by ESPN2. The winner of that contest will go on to face the winner of the game between top-seeded Duke (27-3 overall) and 16th-seeded Norfolk State (22-8 overall).
"It's just an incredible feeling," Indiana senior point guard Heather Cassady said after learning of the selection. This is Cassady's first-ever appearance in the Big Dance and Indiana's first since 1995. "I don't know much about TCU, but we'll be ready to start preparing for them tomorrow. As a team, we've had a couple days off and we are ready to go. Our key will be what we have tried to do all year, stay consistent on defense."
Friday's game will be the first-ever game between Indiana and TCU. The Horned Frogs won the Conference USA regular-season championship after finishing with a 12-2 conference record. However, they were eliminated from the conference tournament after suffering a 80-76 loss at the hands of Tulane in the semifinal round.
TCU and Indiana have no common opponents this year. The Horned Frogs finished the season ranked 25th in the nation and had a final RPI of 26. Their most impressive wins came over Cincinnati, Arkansas and Santa Clara.
"It's going to be a scramble to get tapes on those guys," Indiana head coach Kathi Bennett said. "We'll be doing a lot of tape work this week and will make sure we are prepared."
"TCU is pretty much a mystery opponent, but I'm happy with the seed," senior center Jill Chapman said. "Last year, it was really tough not knowing if we were going to get in. We have to be happy to be here, but we also have to be ready to play. I know our seniors don't want to quit playing for IU yet."
Fresh off its first Big Ten championship since 1983, Indiana has an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 1-3 in its three appearances in the Big Dance, with its lone win coming over Kentucky in 1983, but no player on the current Hoosier roster has any NCAA Tournament experience.
"Being a freshman, I'm excited to see what this is all about," guard Jenny DeMuth said. "I never expected this. It was nerve-racking to wait for our name to pop up on the screen. I think we are ready for the challenge. Our seniors have carried us through the season and their leadership will get us through. Our defense was our momentum in the (Big Ten) tournament, so we need to stay strong."
The Hoosiers are one of six Big Ten teams in the NCAA Tournament, with Purdue, Penn State, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin joining them.
"It feels good to be in the draw," Bennett said. "I like the draw we're in and we'll prepare the best we can."