By JOHN BAUERNFEIND | IDS
POSTED AT 12:06 AM ON NOV. 22, 2013
On Saturday, the women’s basketball team will stake its undefeated record against Butler, a team that defeated them last year.
The Hoosiers (4-0) face the Bulldogs (1-3), which has lost three games in a row. IU Coach Curt Miller said despite their record, the Bulldogs are a team not to be overlooked.
“First of all, their record is very deceiving,” Miller said. “They’re a very, very good team that’s played a really tough mid-major schedule. They come in here as the clear cut favorite.”
After winning its opening game, Butler has lost by five, four and four to Eastern Michigan, St. Mary’s (CA) and Bowling Green, respectively.
Subsequently, IU has begun the season 4-0 for the first time since the 2006-07 season. The Hoosiers are averaging 76.8 points per game and shooting almost 47 percent from the field.
Miller said Butler’s array of scoring options will make it tough for the Hoosier defense to contain.
“It’s hard to concentrate just on one person because they have so many weapons,” he said. “They do play up-tempo, and they can really score the basketball.”
For Butler, junior center Liz Stratman leads the team in points, averaging 15 points per contest. Leading the team in rebounds is senior Daress McClung with 7.2 per game. McClung also averages 14.2 points per game.
Last season, the Hoosiers fell to the Bulldogs on the road 59-56. Senior forward Tabitha Gerardot said Butler will be a challenge for IU.
“They’re going to be a tough team,” she said. “It’s an in-state rival, so they’re going to want to play hard, and we’re going to have to compete with that.”
For the Hoosiers, freshman guard Larryn Brooks leads the team in points per game with 18.8. Gerardot is third on the team with 11 points per game, while leading the Hoosiers in rebounds with 6.4.
Gerardot said she hopes her team can push the ball and play at a fast pace against Butler.
“I like it when we play up-tempo,” she said. “We know it’s going to be a tough one. Both sides are going to fight.”
Butler played and lost to Bowling Green in its most recent game. Miller, who coached at Bowling Green for 11 seasons, said Butler has already had a trial run of what its going to see from the Hoosiers.
“Butler gets a trial run on a lot of the same things that we’re going to do,” Miller said.
“They still run our same offenses that we did there. Butler has the advantage and the trial run of guarding a lot of that, but we get the advantage of, on film, how did Butler effectively guard it, and where were they.
“And so we can make some adjustments on how they guarded it. So we both win in that situation.”
Miller said both teams are at an advantage, with Butler playing against a similar style to IU and the Hoosiers getting to watch how the Bulldogs played against their style.
“Butler’s had a 40-minute game against the same system they’re going to play back to back,” Miller said. “But we get the whole 40-minute game on tape to dissect what they did to try and guard them.”