By JOHN BAUERNFEIND | IDS
POSTED AT 12:08 AM ON DEC. 5, 2013
After seeing a 19-point lead wither down to four with just more than four minutes remaining, freshman guard Larryn Brooks connected on one of her four made 3-pointers on the night, stretching the Hoosiers’ lead to 61-54.
The Hoosiers (8-0) defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies 71-65, largely in part by Brooks’ efforts. She had a game-high 37 points, breaking the IU freshman record for points in a single game.
The previous record was held by Denise Johnson, who scored 32 points as a freshman on Feb. 13, 1981.
Brooks shot 11-for-23 from the floor and 4-for-10 from beyond the arc. She also made it to the free throw line 11 times, hitting every one.
IU Coach Curt Miller was frank in his assessment on how Brooks effected the game.
“Larryn Brooks put us on her back tonight,” Miller said. “Offensively, and the great news about it was they had a gameplan for her, and we countered and made some adjustments and put the ball in Larryn’s hands to go make plays, and she did that for us tonight.”
Miller has talked about four-minute battles within the actual game. In the final four minutes and 10 seconds of the first half, Brooks led a charge to put the Hoosiers up at halftime.
With the Hoosiers down 25-21 and struggling to make shots, Brooks started what would turn out to be a 14-0 scoring run by the Hoosiers to end the half. Brooks made a 3-pointer to cut the lead to one, which was followed by two free throws from senior forward Milika Taufa.
Brooks then made two free throws to move the Hoosiers up by three. A layup by senior center Simone Deloach extended the lead to five. After that, Brooks finished the run with five more points to leave the Hoosiers up 10 at halftime.
As the second half progressed, the Hokies found themselves back in the game, in part due to senior forward Uju Ugoka’s 32 points. After sophomore forward Hannah Young’s 3-pointer cut the Hoosier lead to four, Brooks responded with a basket of her own, pushing the lead back up to six with just less than two minutes remaining.
In the final 36.3 seconds, Brooks hit all six of her free throws, giving the Hoosiers a victory in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Miller said Brooks’ offensive output would likely overshadow her presence on the defensive side of the ball.
“But what’s even better about Larryn Brooks’s night is we believe the key to Virginia Tech is their freshman Australian point guard (Vanessa Panousis),” Miller said. “And Larryn shut her out, and played 40 minutes tonight. So you can write all you want about her offense, but what she did to win the game was at the defensive end.”
Brooks said despite the record that she broke, she was most excited for her teammates and their win.
“It’s definitely something that I’m going to cherish,” she said. “But it was my team and more of the win tonight that I’m worried about.”