INDIANA 65, VIRGINIA TECH 57
BLOOMINGTON, IN – After missing 13 straight shots from 3-point range, Indiana converted two key long-range shots in the fourth quarter, one from freshman Bendu Yeaney and another from senior Amanda Cahill, as the Hoosiers slipped past Virginia Tech in the 2018 Postseason WNIT championship game on Saturday in front of 13,007 fans at Assembly Hall.
The crowd was the largest to ever see a women’s basketball game at Indiana and marked the sixth-largest attendance number in Postseason WNIT history, dating back to 1998.
Yeaney hit her shot with 4:55 remaining in the game, and when Cahill’s went down about 30 seconds later, the Hoosiers (23-14) had a 55-48 lead. Taylor Emery’s steal and layup brought Virginia Tech (23-14) to within 61-56 with 1:54 remaining. The Hokies missed a 3-pointer at the 1:10 mark and were forced to foul to try and extend the game – WNIT MVP Tyra Buss of Indiana hit a free throw to make it 62-56, and Cahill drained two more at the :31-second mark to make it 64-56 for the home team.
Joining Buss on the all-tournament team was IU teammate Cahill, Emery and Regan Magarity from Virginia Tech, Teana Muldrow from West Virginia and Jordan Moore of TCU.
Buss was just 6-of-21 from the field, but she had a team-high 16 points and added five rebounds and two steals. Yeaney had 14 points, Cahill closed with 12 points and five rebounds, and freshman Jaelynn Penn came through with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Buss ended her career with 2,364 points.
Indiana held the Hokies to 35 percent shooting from the field and forced 17 turnovers. Virginia Tech got 23 points from Emery, and Magarity added seven points and 15 rebounds. The Hokies out-rebounded the Hoosiers, 40-33
Both teams struggled to settle in during the first quarter, which ended with the Hoosiers up, 17-13. The Hokies were 1-of-10 from the field at one point and went about 3:30 without scoring, but they stayed in range as Emery scored seven points in the frame. Both teams were 0-for-3 from the 3-point line.
Indiana got baskets in a flurry from Yeaney, Royster and Buss to open up a 33-24 lead in the second quarter, prompting a VT timeout with 2:25 remaining. Kendyl Brooks hit a 3-pointer for the Hokies with the shot clock about to expire, and Cahill responded with a standard three-point play at :25 to push Indiana ahead at the break, 36-27.
Trailing by as many as 11 points in the third quarter, Virginia Tech’s persistence was rewarded as it closed to within 42-40 on a free throw by Alexis Jean with 3:54 left. Muzzling the Hoosiers to just seven points in the quarter and closing with a 15-3 run, Virginia Tech took a 44-43 lead on a 3-pointer by Regan Magarity heading into the final 10 minutes. At that point, Indiana was 0-for-10 from 3-point range, and Virginia Teach had committed 13 turnovers.
This was the second meeting all-time between the programs – Indiana topped VT in 2013, 71-65. This also marks the second straight WNIT crown for a Big Ten program, as Michigan topped Georgia Tech in 2017, 89-79, in three overtimes.