Beyond the team's postseason run, Indiana now has even more bulletin board material to prove the importance of this season to the program. After defeating Northwestern 66-65 Thursday night at Assembly Hall in the third round of the women's NIT Tournament, the Hoosiers notched their 21st win of the season, tied for the most the program has ever had in a single season.
Coming off his first season at the helm with an 11-19 record under his belt, IU head coach Curt Miller said he wouldn't have dreamed his team would be where it is now, deep in the postseason and setting school marks.
"You could not have gotten me to believe this team had a chance to tie the school record for most wins in school history, and now we have another game to single-handedly have that," Miller said. "It's ben a really rewarding year."
IU has hit 21 wins in a season four other times in program history, including the last time during the 2008-09 when the Hoosiers also made it to the quarterfinals of the WNIT before losing to Illinois State on the road after taking down Miller's old team, Bowling Green, on the road.
Miller said he came to the Hoosiers with the vision to expand and grow it to be a powerhouse team at some point, but in doing so, he'd have to resurrect a program that had fallen to the depths of the Big Ten. Now, with records falling all the time, he said he just wants his players to enjoy the ride.
"I've told them how many times as we set records and do special things that they can never be taken out of the record books," Miller said. "They're forever and they're leading a legacy. If we continue to build the program like I have a vision to, we're going to look back as this team as the building foundation and the building blocks of where we'll hopefully hopefully, eventually will go."
Large crowd ignites Hoosiers
IU boasted a home crowd of 3,065 in Assembly Hall Thursday to watch the Hoosiers defeat Northwestern Thursday evening, and Miller said after the game he didn't think the narrow one-point victory was possible without the passionate fans in attendance.
"Tonight was an incredible crowd. It was loud; it was an educated crowd" he said. "We had a student body tonight. I can't explain how important that is for our growth to get the student body here on our side."
Yet even more important, Miller said, was the specific groups of people there to cheer his team on. Members of the men's basketball team, including Noah Vonleh, Devin Davis and Troy Williams sat close to courtside with other IU student-athletes scattered throughout the arena.
"Athletes supporting athletes is a big deal within the athletic department," Miller said. "Our players thrive on that. They really appreciate their peers from other sports coming out and supporting them."
- Even during his best years at Bowling Green as a head coach before he came to IU, Miller had never won three-straight postseason games in the NCAA Tournament or the WNIT before this season with the Hoosiers. With IU's third WNIT win this season, Miller ties the all-time postseason wins record for IU women's head coaches.
- Brooks moved into seventh on IU's all-time single-season scoring list with her 27 points Thursday night with now 538 on the season, also an IU freshmen record. She has now scored 60 points in her last two games, and 56 of IU's 66 points Thursday came from Brooks and her fellow freshmen.
- With her five 3-pointers Thursday evening, Brooks also set the IU freshman record for treys in a single-season with 65. As a team, the Hoosiers have sunk 251 3-pointers this season, which is a school record and also ranks second all-time in Big Ten history.