6-Banner Sunday: IU women earn signature win against No. 4 Iowa

  • 02/25/2024 7:26 am in

Welcome to another edition of 6-Banner Sunday, a joint production between The Assembly Call and Inside the Hall, and presented by our friends at Trueblood Real Estate, where we highlight the five most essential IU basketball stories of the past week, plus take a look at how the other IU sports programs are doing.

The biggest game in Assembly Hall this season occurred on Thursday night. Caitlin Clark and Iowa came into a hostile and packed arena and left with a loss as the Hoosiers played their best game of the season thus far.

Things on the men’s side were not as rosy as Indiana lost three times this week. Also, the Back Home Network had new shows in the last few days as per usual. Finally, we will conclude with a look at other IU sports, led by baseball’s continued strong start and another Big Ten championship from swimming and diving.

Here is what’s in this week’s edition:

• Women’s basketball beats Iowa for signature win
• Hoosiers fall to Northwestern
• IU dominated by Nebraska
• Indiana sinks further with loss at Penn State
• Podcast on the Brink and Back Home Network shows
• Hoosier Roundup

IU men’s basketball will play five games this season on Peacock and the women will play seven, making the streaming service essential for IU basketball fans. Sign up for Peacock using Inside the Hall’s link to help support the site and also enjoy Big Ten hoops all season long! (The link is an Inside the Hall affiliate link, so a commission will be paid to ITH if you click and subscribe to Peacock. Alex and the ITH team appreciate your support!)

Banner #1 – Women’s basketball beats Iowa for signature win

The No. 14/16 women took to the court twice last week. However, Thursday was the biggest night athletically in Bloomington all season as the No. 4 Iowa Hawkeyes came to town. Fans queued up several hours before the game started with lines stretching to the nearby streets.

These supporters created a magical night and atmosphere in Assembly Hall as the team had their second sellout in program history. It was also the tenth crowd that reached at least 10,000 people in the past couple of seasons. This one was at a new level as a white-out shined the stadium brightly from top to bottom. Sure, Iowa star Caitlin Clark caused some of the commotion. However, unlike most Hawkeye road games this season that saw many opposing partisans, this one was almost exclusively people rooting for the Cream and Crimson. The Hoosiers used this energy to produce inspired play and routed the opposition 86-69.

It was the Hoosiers’ best game of the season and got them a much-needed signature victory over an elite squad for the first time in 2023-2024. Clark was held to just 24 points on an off-shooting night. On Indiana’s side, Sara Scalia and Mackenzie Holmes were elite all night with 25 and 24 points, respectively. This duo also helped to lead a tenacious defensive effort, as Holmes made life miserable almost singlehandedly for opposing center Hannah Stuelke, who recently put up 47 points against Penn State. On Thursday, she had just 10 as everyone else in the IU lineup made things challenging for Clark and the other players on the perimeter.

This victory was significant after a surprising blowout defeat to middling Illinois on Monday. The win over the Hawkeyes essentially canceled this out, though, according to the metrics. The Hoosiers are still projected to host NCAA tournament games in Bloomington as a four seed, where they were when the week started.

They now sit at 22-4 overall and return to competition Tuesday at conference bottom feeder Northwestern (7 p.m. ET on BTN). While a regular-season championship is unlikely sitting two games behind league-leading Ohio State, victories are of the utmost importance against lesser teams if Indiana wants to remain in that top-16 and host postseason games on their campus.

A likely rematch with the Hawkeyes in Minneapolis in the league tournament semi-finals on Saturday, March 9 is almost certainly in the cards. This is the next time Indiana can afford a loss if they don’t want to travel in March Madness before the second weekend. This showdown in Minnesota is already sold out as well. However, this time, it will be mostly Iowa supporters in black rather than Hoosiers fans in white, as it was Thursday.

Banner #2 – Hoosiers fall to Northwestern

Turning to the men, this week continued the struggles that have occurred all season. It started against postseason-bound Northwestern last Sunday in Bloomington. Despite foul trouble for Wildcats star Boo Buie, it was still dominated by the visitors most of the afternoon. IU made a late push but still lost 76-72.

Afterward, IU coach Woodson spoke, Inside the Hall had a photo gallery, Ryan Corazza wrote a Minute After and Film Session, Alex Bozich penned Five Takeaways, and William McDermott put together a column about the continual issues on display. Also, Assembly Call had their postgame email and polls as well as a Film Room.

Banner #3 – IU dominated by Nebraska

Nothing was any better against Nebraska on Wednesday as the Cornhuskers raced to a big early lead behind elite three-point shooting from Hoosier nemesis Keisei Tominaga. Indiana made one run early in the second half to trim the deficit to just three. However, Nebraska stretched it right back out and won easily 85-70.

Afterward, Woodson spoke, Inside the Hall had a Photo Gallery, Corazza wrote a Minute After and Film Session, Bozich penned Five Takeaways, while McDermott and Amanda Foster had columns about the larger picture and the early game struggles respectively. Also, Assembly Call had their postgame polls and email.

Banner #4 – Indiana sinks further with loss at Penn State

It was more of the same in Happy Valley on Saturday. IU was slightly more competitive with struggling Penn State than they were with the Wildcats and Cornhuskers who have postseason aspirations. Ultimately, the Nittany Lions were the better team most of the afternoon and came out on top 83-74. It is the first time in Indiana’s history that they were swept by Northwestern, Nebraska, and Penn State in the same season.

Afterward, IU coach Woodson spoke, Corazza wrote a Minute After, Bozich penned Five Takeaways, and Foster and Bozich put together columns about the game and what has led to the struggles this season respectively. Also, Assembly Call had a Film Room.

Indiana sits at just 14-13 overall and 6-10 in the Big Ten and is likely to be playing on the Wednesday of the conference tournament for just the second time. They are far from the conversation for any kind of postseason tournament, including March Madness. Still, Inside the Hall’s Andy Bottoms released his weekly bracketology for those who will take part in the NCAA tournament.

It does not get easier for the Hoosiers this week as postseason-bound Wisconsin visits Bloomington on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET on Peacock and see above advertisement on how to watch). This is a matchup where IU was victorious at Assembly Hall last season. However, Indiana has struggled with the Badgers in the last few decades, with only a handful of wins.

Banner #5 – Podcast on the Brink and Back Home Network shows

Inside the Hall and the Back Home Network had several new shows in the last few days. ITH’s Podcast on the Brink had a listener mailbag with guest Justin Albers.

Doing The Work had episodes following Illinois as well as two on back-to-back nights after Iowa. Meanwhile, Assembly Call had postgame shows after each contest this week including NorthwesternNebraska, and Penn State.

Banner #6 – Hoosier Roundup

• No. 23 baseball continued its strong start by beating George Mason to close last weekend. That continued in the last few days with a victory over Miami (OH) and defeating Baylor twice to improve to 5-1. Conor Foley won Big Ten pitcher of the week for his first performance and was even better Saturday against the Bears going six scoreless innings.

• No. 6 swimming and diving women won the conference championship late Saturday night by just .5 points in a meet that came down to the final event.

• No. 30 softball beat FAMUCentral Michigan, and Drake this week but lost twice to Arizona. Also, Bri Copeland was named league pitcher of the week.

• No. 7 men’s soccer defeated Evansville 1-0 in its first spring exhibition match. Also, 16 former Hoosiers are currently in the pros on MLS rosters.

• No. 13 water polo beat Saint Francis and Salem last Sunday. However, they suffered close losses on Friday and Saturday to ranked USC and UC Santa Barbara before bouncing back against Cal State Fullerton to improve to 13-2 in 2024.

• No. 29 wrestling suffered its first bad defeat of the year to struggling Northwestern before knocking off Chattanooga to close the regular season.

• No. 32 men’s tennis lost to Louisville before knocking off Southern Indiana.

• Track and field competed at the Big Ten Championships.

• Volleyball announced their spring exhibition schedule as well as that two of their players were named to the US national team’s open program.

• Two field hockey athletes received academic awards.

Now go enjoy yourself a 6-banner Sunday.

Aaron (Ari) Shifron
Assembly Call Contributor

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(Photo credit: IU Athletics)

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