WBB: Indiana’s season ends at WNIT quarterfinals

BROOKINGS, S.D. – The Indiana women’s basketball team fell on the road in the quarterfinals of the WNIT at South Dakota State on Sunday afternoon, 76-64. Alexis Gassion led the Hoosiers with a career-high tying 22 points as Larryn Brooks added 16 points for Indiana.

Early on IU (21-13) tied the game at 13-13 thanks to a Gassion drive and layup and later Taylor Agler found Milika Taufa on a backdoor cut for lay in with 13:28 left in the half. The Jackrabbits then strung together a 6-0 run to take a 19-13 advantage.

Agler halted the run momentarily with a trey before SDSU (26-9) tacked on six more points to cap a 12-3 run to lead Indiana 25-16 with 7:58 on the clock.

IU then began to string some offense together, starting with Gassion completing an old-fashioned three-point play to cut the deficit to six. Brooks followed with a 3-pointer before Lyndsay Leikem grabbed an offensive board to score a field goal. Brooks then completed Indiana’s 10-0 run with a contested runner off the glass to give the Hoosiers a 26-25 lead with 4:39 to go.

South Dakota State would close the half with an 11-3 spurt over the final 4:16 to take a 36-29 lead into the halftime break.

Senior Andrea Newbauer played some big minutes in the second half and drove to the bucket for a layup to cut the SDSU lead to four, 46-42, with 12:45 to go. The Jacks fired back with back-to-back field goals to go back up by eight.

IU responded with a Gassion 3-pointer to cut the deficit to five, and later Gassion scored four-straight to make it a three-point game, 54-51, with 7:33 remaining. Again, South Dakota State shut the door with a 3-point field goal to increase its lead back to six points.

Later, Gassion found Tabitha Gerardot for a layup at the 3:22 mark as the score read 62-57 in favor of the home team. Hannah Strop then stepped up to hit another South Dakota State 3-pointer in what ended up being the dagger to IU’s comeback chances.

Indiana ends the season with a school-record tying 21 wins, becoming just the fifth team in program history to hit that win total.

SDSU had three players score in double figures led by Megan Waytashek’s 20 points as Steph Paluch added 19 points and Mariah Clarin added 15.

IU shot 44.4 percent (24-of-54) for the game and was 8-of-18 from long distance. The Jackrabbits went 20-of-22 from the free throw line as IU shot just 8-of-14 from the charity stripe.

Agler and Gerardot both finished with seven points and Leikem added six.

The 2013-14 Hoosiers scored the second-most points ever in a single year in school history (2,369), finished with the second-most field goals made (850) and the most 3-point field goals made (259). The 259 3-point field goals made rank second all-time in Big Ten history for a single season.

Brooks ends her season with 554 points, which ranks seventh for most points in a single season by an IU player in school history. Her 67 3-pointers made ties for the fourth-highest ever made in a single year and she is now alone in third for most assists in a season at Indiana.

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