Tag Archives: Nebraska Cornhuskers

Mosquera-Perea’s double-double leads Indiana to victory at Nebraska

Nebraska (8-5) had more size, more experience and a home-court advantage on its side when Indiana (11-3) came to Lincoln, Neb., but none of that mattered. The Hoosiers bounced back from their loss to Georgetown with a 70-65 win against the Cornhuskers in their Big Ten opener.

After falling behind 7-2, the Hoosiers regained an 8-7 lead thanks to a pair of three-pointers from Robert Johnson and a trio of rebounds from Hanner Mosquera-Perea.

Both players were sidelined after Johnson crashed hard to the floor after he was fouled by Shavon Shields, falling on his right hip and shoulder, and after Mosquera-Perea picked up two quick fouls.

When Indiana needed a lift with two starters on the bench, Emmitt Holt and Troy Williams answered the call. Holt made an immediate impact, beating all five Cornhusker players down the court to score a lay-up in transition. He scored the Hoosiers’ next four points while also grabbing three rebounds and blocking or altering multiple shots on defense.

Then the Troy Williams show commenced. He scored nine points in the first half on 4-of-5 shooting, cutting through Nebraska’s defense with tight handles and smooth finishes at the rim.

Indiana’s frontcourt battled foul trouble, with Mosquera-Perea, Williams and Collin Hartman all picking up two fouls in the first half.

The Hoosiers led 38-22 at one point in the first half, but Nebraska closed the half on a 10-2 run.

Indiana coach Tom Crean & Co. may have experienced déja vu Wednesday night because the Hoosiers led by 13 at halftime on the road against Nebraska last season before being outscored by 18 points in the second half and losing the game.

The Cornhuskers went on a 24-4 run that spanned both halves to retake the lead for the first time in the game since they led 7-5.

However, Indiana was able to take a punch and respond with a punch of its own, going on an 18-4 run.

Mosquera-Perea took over in the second half after recording only one point and three rebounds in four minutes in the first half. He threw down two monster alley-oops from Yogi Ferrell and showed finesse around the rim. The junior was dominant on the boards, crashing the glass with every shot attempt and securing rebounds with two hands. As a team, Indiana was tough on the boards, winning the rebounding battle 44-31.

Mosquera-Perea, who had his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, was one of three Hoosiers to score in double figures. Johnson had 14 points and Williams had 13.

After getting only two points off of the bench against Georgetown, Indiana had 18 bench points. Holt and Stanford Robinson chipped in six points each off the bench.

Indiana’s lead climbed to 13 after Mosquera-Perea made a lay-up with 4:50 left in the game, but Nebraska wasn’t going to go down without a fight. The Cornhuskers’ big three of Terran Petteway, Shields and Walter Pitchford fueled a comeback attempt as Nebraska pulled within three with 65 seconds remaining.

Indiana caught a break in the final minute when Nebraska’s David Rivers couldn’t corral a rebound and knocked it out of bounds, giving the Hoosiers a fresh shot clock with 35.2 seconds remaining in the game. Nick Zeisloft, who was 1-of-6 on the night, was fouled and made both ends of a 1-and-1 opportunity at the free throw line to give Indiana a five-point lead.

Then it was Yogi Ferrell, who had a quiet scoring night, who made another winning play late in the game. After James Blackmon Jr. missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Petteway grabbed the rebound, but Ferrell knocked the ball loose and it went out of bounds off of Petteway’s knee.

In six of Indiana’s Big Ten losses last season, the Hoosiers went into halftime with the lead. This was a game that the Hoosiers would have lost last season, but they found a way to grind out a win on a night when Ferrell and Blackmon Jr. were a combined 4-of-16. Indiana’s supporting cast stepped up and the team showed resilience during several big scoring runs by Nebraska.

With the win, Indiana improved to 11-3 (1-0) before going on the road for its next game against Michigan State on Jan. 5.

Hoosiers open Big Ten play on the road against Nebraska

The sound of screaming football fans echoed inside Assembly Hall this week. To prepare for its first true road tests of the season — at Nebraska on New Year’s Eve and then at Michigan State on Jan. 5 — Indiana pumped in “heavy” football crowd noise during recent practices, Indiana coach Tom Crean said Monday on his weekly radio show.

“There’s no question we were handed the gift of playing in two of the toughest venues in the entire league right off the bat,” he said.

Indiana (10-3) experienced three neutral site games during its non-conference schedule, but the 2014-15 Hoosiers will venture into unchartered waters — a true road game — for Wednesday’s matchup against the Cornhuskers (8-4) in Pinnacle Bank Arena. Last year in its inaugural season, the arena was virtually impenetrable for visiting teams seeking a win in Lincoln, Neb. Only Michigan beat Nebraska on its home floor last season.

However, the Cornhuskers have suffered twice that many home losses this season and they’ve yet to face the rigors of conference play.

After surpassing expectations last season on their way to a fourth-place finish in the Big Ten and a No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Cornhuskers are treading water this season. Nebraska has suffered losses to Rhode Island, Creighton, Incarnate Word and Hawaii, who were all unranked, and Tim Miles’ squad needed overtime to escape Cincinnati and Loyola Marymount with victories.

“We saw they’ve had an up and down season, but they’ve shown a lot of flashes of being great,” freshman guard James Blackmon Jr. said on Crean’s radio show.

Nebraska’s defense ranks 18th in the country on a per possession basis and opponents have only scored an average of 61.6 points per game, but offense has been a struggle for the Cornhuskers. They have two high-usage, high-output scorers in Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields, but neither is particularly efficient.

The junior forwards rarely leave the floor and they average nearly 40 points per game combined. When they’re on the court together, they use nearly 60 percent of Nebraska’s possessions.

What the Cornhuskers lack is secondary scoring. There is nearly a 10-point gap between Shields’ 17.2 points per game scoring average and third-leading scorer Walter Pitchford’s 7.4 points per game.

While Nebraska lacks offensive firepower, the Cornhuskers create their share of mismatches.

“There aren’t many times you play a 7-footer like Walter Pitchford, who plays liked a two-guard,” Crean said.

Pitchford gives Nebraska an outside shooting threat who can also play inside, while Petteway and Shields are among the best players in the conference at drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line.

The Cornhuskers are one of the better teams in college basketball at getting to the free throw line, and preventing teams from getting to the charity stripe is one of Indiana’s lone strong suits defensively.

The Hoosiers are essentially the statistical opposite of Nebraska — elite offensively with major defensive flaws. And Troy Williams’ recent offensive outbursts — scoring a combined 45 points against No. 23 Butler and Georgetown — have added another layer to Indiana’s already potent offense.

“Until you watch other teams play, you don’t really understand how well we score the ball,” Indiana assistant coach Chuck Martin said on Crean’s radio show.

Road teams went 3-1 in the opening day of Big Ten play, and Wednesday will be an opportunity for Indiana to follow suit. Nebraska has proven that it’s beatable and this is the type of game — on the road against a strong defensive team — that the Hoosiers will need to win this season to prove that they’re worthy of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Their loss to Georgetown took some of the wind out of their sails heading into conference play, but they’ve shown that when they put together a complete game (i.e. three-point shooting, minimizing turnovers and toughness on the boards), they can play with almost anyone. With its non-conference slate in the rearview mirror, Indiana is looking to play that way more consistently in order to navigate a challenging start to its Big Ten schedule.

“We haven’t maximized our potential yet,” Martin said, “but that’s what’s really exciting.”

Know Thy Conference: Q&A with Nebraska’s Terran Petteway

Know Thy Conference is a series of feature stories and Q&A’s with Big Ten men’s basketball players based on interviews conducted at the Big Ten Basketball Media Day in October. IUSportCom had the opportunity to interview Nebraska junior forward Terran Petteway one-on-one at the Big Ten Basketball Media Day.

Here is the transcript of the conversation:

IUSportCom: How does Nebraska follow up last season and make sure it wasn’t a one-and-done fluke?

Terran Petteway: Really, we just got to stay humble, stay hungry, working hard and listening to Coach (Tim Miles) because that’s the goal for us. We don’t want everybody to think it was a fluke last year. We want to show everybody it was a new beginning, that we’re here to stay.

IUSportCom: What is the state of Nebraska basketball? When you think long-term of the program when you’re gone, how far away is the program from where you want it to be?

TP: I want to be one of those guys they say that helped change the culture of Nebraska basketball. That’s my whole purpose. I want Nebraska basketball to be like Nebraska football.

IUSportCom: Do you think it’s almost surprising for many fans to hear that Nebraska is in the national conversation and that you’re one of the best players in the Big Ten?

TP: It is man, it is because they keep telling me that Nebraska hasn’t had a player like this in a long time, I think since Tyronn Lue, so it’s a lot of pressure. It’s not a lot of pressure but it’s just different for Nebraska fans to see that their basketball team is in the national conversation so it’s pretty fun.

IUSportCom: In his press conference, Coach Miles said his offensive plan is to get the ball to you and Shavon (Shields) and then he’s just going to shut up and let you guys do your thing, so what’s the offensive plan for Nebraska this season?

TP: Ah nah man, it wasn’t the plan. Coach Miles is just cracking jokes. It’s really just to get everybody involved. We have more scorers other than me and Shavon like Walter Pitchford, Tai Webster, David Rivers and Benny Parker, you know, those guys can do things with the ball in their hands so it’s really getting everybody involved.

IUSportCom: How strong is your home court advantage? I think you only lost once or twice there last year.

TP: Once. Oh man, it’s big time, man. Have you ever been? You need to come to a game, you’ll understand how it feels to play in PBA man, it gives you Goosebumps every time. You can’t hear a drop.

IUSportCom: In terms of road environments, what’s the toughest place to play in the Big Ten?

TP: The place I thought was the toughest to play in was easily Michigan State and Indiana.

IUSportCom: How did you improve your game in the offseason?

TP: Decision-making. I had too many turnovers last year and I didn’t like that and I’m trying to improve my field goal percentage, knocking down my shot at a consistent rate and taking better shots.

IUSportCom: When you set team goals, do you set a number of wins or a seed in the NCAA Tournament? What kind of things do you look at?

TP: Our realistic goal for this year is to win the Big Ten. We feel like we can compete for the Big Ten title. Last year people would’ve laughed in our face if we said that but this year we feel like that’s a realistic goal and we want to win multiple games in the tournament, not just be one-and-done.

IUSportCom: A lot of media members picked Wisconsin first and then two through 10 is kind of up in the air. Do you see Wisconsin as the clear favorite or do you see yourselves as competing for the top spot in the Big Ten?

TP: Like Coach Miles said, journalists they never got it right so this time in a couple months we’re not going to know who’s at the top of the Big Ten, we’re just got to do what we’ve got to do and control what we can control and that’s how we play so that’s what we’ve got to do.

IUSportCom: How good is Nebraska’s freshman class?

TP: Pretty good, we got a pretty good guard, Tarin Smith. He’s going to help us out a lot this year and then we’ve got Jacob Hammond, who’s a post from Oklahoma, those two guys have been playing their butt off, they’ve been coachable, so I think they’re going to help us out a lot this year.

IUSportCom: Is Coach Miles as funny in practice as he is in press conferences?

TP: How he is right now, that’s how he is in practice, film, you think about it, he’s like that all the time. There is not a fake man. He’s like that all the time.

IUSportCom: Do you feel like people nationally know your name and who you are?

TP: Me? I don’t know to tell you the truth. I don’t do all the reading of the articles. I hope they do but if they don’t that’s fine, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, playing my butt off and hopefully at the end of the year they will.

IUSportCom: What do you want your legacy to be when your playing career is done at Nebraska?

TP: Man, I want to be that guy they say that he helped change the culture of Nebraska basketball. He’s the reason that Nebraska basketball is on the map now.

IU loses on senior night

On a night dedicated to IU’s four seniors, Nebraska’s 70-60 victory against the Hoosiers Wednesday spoiled their home farewell to the upperclassmen and effectively ended the team’s hopes of earning an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.

“First of all, I do hate to lose, and I hate tonight,” senior forward Will Sheehey said in the opening of his post-game speech on Branch McCracken Court.

After trailing by as many as 11 points, the Hoosiers tied the game midway through the second half when a wide-open Sheehey knocked down a 3-pointer from the left wing.

However, it was all downhill from there for the Hoosiers. IU only scored eight points in the final 10 minutes and shot 3-for-18 during that span.

For the second consecutive game, freshman forward Noah Vonleh was sidelined with inflammation of his left foot. In his absence, the Hoosiers couldn’t find an answer for Nebraska sophomore Walter Pitchford.

Pitchford — a 6-foot-10, 234-pound forward — scored Nebraska’s first nine points and finished with a team-high 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting.

His biggest shot of the game was a 3-pointer in the final two minutes of the game that gave the Cornhuskers a 62-58 lead and proved to be the dagger.

“The mistake late of leaving Pitchford baffles my mind to be honest with you,” IU Coach Tom Crean said. “How we can make a mistake there in a switch game late like that in the game.”

Sheehey said it bothered him that the Hoosiers left opponents open.

“There was a stretch there where the other guys hit a bunch of threes,” he said. “That was unacceptable.”

The Hoosiers’ struggles weren’t limited to the defensive end. On offense, IU shot 36.7 percent from the field.

Crean said the bottom line in the Hoosiers’ loss was that they didn’t shoot well enough.

“When we moved the ball well and kept it moving from side to side, we were really hard to guard,” he said. “We just didn’t do it enough.”

Sophomore guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell said the team’s game plan against Nebraska’s zone defense was to get into the middle and drive.

However, IU’s offense became stagnant at times and the Hoosiers struggled to finish at the rim and to shoot from behind the arc.

They were 5-for-21 from 3-point range. Ferrell finished 1-for-10 from distance.

Cold shooting from Ferrell and Sheehey, coupled with Vonleh’s ailment, demanded that the Hoosiers’ supporting cast step up on both ends of the floor.

“We had some guys step up,” Crean said, citing the play of freshmen Devin Davis, Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson. “We told Troy before the game somehow you got to find a way to get 10 rebounds.”

Williams scored a game-high 18 points, which was his second-highest scoring output of the season.

Despite entering the game as a 12 percent 3-point shooter, he made both of his jump shots from behind the arc.

Davis played 15 minutes — the most action he has seen in a game since Nov. 22 — and chipped in seven points, three rebounds and several hustle plays.

“He was a straight warrior tonight,” Crean said. “That’s exactly what we need from him.”

Even though its role players stepped up Wednesday, IU didn’t make enough plays in crunch time to earn its eighth conference win of the season, ensuring a sub-.500 record in the Big Ten.

“We didn’t make enough (shots) to put us over the hump at any point in time,” Crean said.

“That combined with a couple defensive mistakes at crucial times defies imagination. But it happens and it did and now we got to regroup and get ready to go play Michigan.”

HALFTIME: Nebraska leads IU 34-26

At halftime, Nebraska leads IU 34-26. The Cornhuskers led by as many as 11 points in the half.

Walter Pitchford scored on Nebraska’s first three possessions with a jumper, a 3-pointer and a tip-in dunk to give the Cornhuskers an early lead. He leads all scorers with 12 points.

For the second consecutive game, freshman forward Noah Vonleh. Senior walk-on forward Jeff Howard started in Vonleh’s place, with sophomores Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Jeremy Hollowell helping to fill the void in IU’s frontcourt.

In Vonleh’s absence, the Hoosiers allowed 12 points in the paint and were outrebounded 18-13 in the half.

The Hoosiers shot poorly in the first half, going just 9-for-24 from the field. They were 1-for-9 from beyond the arc. Senior forward Will Sheehey was 0-for-4 from 3-point range.

Freshman forward Troy Williams made IU’s only 3-pointer and he leads the Hoosiers with eight points.

Hoosiers to play Nebraska on IU senior night

Seniors Will Sheehey, Evan Gordon, Jeff Howard and Taylor Wayer will suit up in cream and crimson at Assembly Hall for their final regular season home game Wednesday.

The Hoosiers will play Nebraska at 7 p.m. in a must-win game for both teams in their pursuit of earning at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament.

During Monday’s Big Ten Coaches Teleconference, IU Coach Tom Crean said there is no question that the Cornhuskers are playing as well as any team in the Big Ten.

Nebraska (17-11, 9-7) won eight of its past 10 games to improve to fifth place in the conference.

“They can beat you in a lot of different ways,” Crean said. “In watching game film today, they can win with the two-man game, the three-man game, defense, 3-point shooting.”

The Cornhuskers are led by redshirt sophomore guard-forward Terran Petteway, who is tied with Michigan State’s Gary Harris for the highest scoring average in the Big Ten at 17.9 points per game.

By limiting Petteway to five points during the first half Jan. 30, IU (17-12, 7-9) had a 13-point lead at halftime.

The 6-foot-6 wing went on to score 13 points during the second half of the first matchup between the two teams.

Petteway’s second-half performance helped the Cornhuskers rally in the closing stretch of the game to a 60-55 victory in Lincoln, Neb.

“He can really drop his shoulders, and he has to see help before he starts his move,” Crean said. “When that team wins, they are really, really good at getting to the foul line and Petteway is a big, big part of that.”

Petteway draws 5.7 fouls per 40 minutes, per kenpom.com, and averages 5.9 free throw attempts per game.

He shoots 81.7 percent from the charity stripe.

The Hoosiers will need to continue their offensive consistency to combat Petteway’s scoring. IU’s bench only contributed seven total points against Nebraska in January and Sheehey was 3-for-10 from the field.

Crean said trying to build consistency was one of the biggest challenges the Hoosier coaching staff faced this season.

“I think when you look at this season, whether it was the inexperience of guys in roles, whether it was the youth… you’re trying to get your team to be tough in so many areas but consistency really is the greatest form of toughness you can possibly have in a team,” he said. “It takes time to get that.”

IU has solidified third and fourth scoring options in addition to team scoring leaders Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell and Noah Vonleh during the team’s most recent home stand.

In the past two games against Iowa and Ohio State, Sheehey, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week, scored 49 points.

Graduate student guard Evan Gordon chipped in 21 points off the bench and the Hoosiers recorded 61 bench points.

“He has really made a big difference in this program from the beginning of time that he got here and is playing his best basketball right now,” Crean said of Sheehey. “He is a big, big part of the leadership of this team and how the team is gaining confidence.”

He said the Hoosiers will need to take the emotion from senior night and play with great energy and toughness against Nebraska.

“And we are going to need our crowd to absolutely help carry us the whole way through,” Crean said.

IU women’s tennis regular season wrap-up and Big Ten Tournament preview

After losing to No. 47 Illinois and No. 16 Northwestern, the No. 34 IU women’s tennis team finished the regular season 17-8 (6-5). The Hoosiers placed sixth in the Big Ten.

IU Coach Lin Loring said that he thinks Indiana would have defeated Illinois if all of the women had been healthy for Friday’s match. Sophomore Carolyn Chupa did not play due to a concussion. Loring said that senior Leslie Hureau has been playing hurt for the past three weeks and that sophomore Katie Klyczek is dealing with a hamstring injury.

“Even though we’ve played a little bit injured we’ve played well against Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Nebraska,” Loring said.  “I think we’ve been playing well and it’s just a matter of if we get everybody in the lineup for the Big Tens, I’m confidant that we can play pretty well.”

He said that Chupa will undergo a concussion test on Monday and the team will not know the results until later in the week.

Loring said that the team is off on Monday, which leaves Tuesday and Wednesday for the Hoosiers to prepare for the Big Ten Tournament. Indiana is hosting the tournament at the IU Tennis Center. First round matches begin on Thursday and the final match will be played on Sunday.

The top four teams in the conference—Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, and Purdue—will have first round byes.

As the No. 6 seed, Indiana will play the No. 11 seed on Thursday. Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Iowa are all tied at 3-8. IU will face one of those four schools depending on the conference tiebreaker rules.

“I had a couple of phone calls on the bus ride back from the front office,” Loring said. “The rules aren’t totally clear as to how we interpret the tiebreaker rules because it’s never had to have been used for four teams. One way you interpret it we play Wisconsin and another way you interpret it we play Minnesota.”

Loring said that he thinks Indiana will face Minnesota.

“I think that’s the way you interpret the rule but to tell you the truth I may not know, we have a conference call at two tomorrow, and if they haven’t figured it out by then the coaches will have to vote on it on the phone call,” he said. “Either way we’re playing at two o’clock on Thursday, we pretty much know that.”

Loring said that preparing for a Big Ten Tournament match will be different than preparing for a regular season match because the Big Ten head coaches will announce their starting lineups on a conference call on Monday afternoon.

“That’s a little bit of a different scenario during the season because you think you know who you’re playing,” he said. “You trade lineups with the coach and they switched the five and the six or the three and the four so unless someone is injured and they pull them out, we’ll know if somebody is playing a left-hander or if someone has a big serve, we’ll know. I don’t think there will be any surprises, we’ll know how to prepare for them and they’ll know how to prepare for us since we just played.”

Click here to read this blog post on the Indiana Daily Student’s Hoosier Hype blog. 

Sri Lanka native Jayawickrema at home, away from home

For IU senior women’s tennis player Jithmie Jayawickrema, home is Colombo, Sri Lanka, where she first discovered her love for tennis.

“It was pretty much my life,” Jayawickrema said. “I mean, I didn’t have anything else but tennis.”

Jayawickrema started playing when she was 8 years old, and she represented Sri Lanka in the Federation Cup, the world’s largest international women’s tennis team competition, by the time she was 17.

At the junior level for International Tennis Federation play, Jayawickrema compiled 73 total victories. She was a four-time national champion in Sri Lanka from 2005-08, and her ITF junior world ranking peaked at 309.

Jayawickrema attended Bishop’s College in Colombo, Sri Lanka, before committing to Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, Tex., in January 2011.

“In high school, that was the thing to do, for you to go to the U.S. and get a scholarship to play tennis,” Jayawickrema said. “In my country, there were a lot of people who did that, but for me it was a big deal to come here.”

Last year, Jayawickrema was a first-team All-Southland Conference selection in doubles play after posting a 20-3 record and being ranked as high as No. 17 nationally.

Despite her successes at SFA, Jayawickrema decided she needed a change.

“I talked to the coaches here (at IU), and I really liked them, so I decided to take a visit to see how it was,” Jayawickrema said. “I really liked it.”

She also considered transferring to Purdue, Virginia, N.C. State and Central Florida but ultimately decided to attend IU, where she found her home away from home in Bloomington.

“I liked it here because the coaches made me feel like I’m more welcome, and I’m more comfortable here,” Jayawickrema said. “When I came to visit, they really made me feel like I’m at home.”

Senior Jithmie Jayawickrema transferred to Indiana University from Stephen F. Austin University. (Image courtesy of iuhoosiers.com)
Senior Jithmie Jayawickrema transferred to Indiana University from Stephen F. Austin University. (Image courtesy of iuhoosiers.com)

She said the coaches helped her transition smoothly to IU.

“Both of them are so helpful to me,” Jayawickrema said. “They’re just so nice. They’re some of the nicest coaches I know personally, so it helps you to get through your matches and in the whole season. They care about you.”

Jayawickrema said the team’s preseason goals were to win the Big Ten, get to the NCAA Championships and be ranked in the top 30.

As the season has progressed, the Sri Lanka native, who aspires to go to graduate school to study physical therapy, has had more opportunities to help the Hoosiers accomplish their lofty goals.

“She’s been our first one off the bench up until now,” IU Coach Lin Loring said. “I think she’s excited to be in the starting lineup, and she just needs matches right now. She’s only been in the lineup for three or four starting matches, so she’s still kind of getting her feet wet.”

Loring said Jayawickrema’s biggest match of the season was defeating the No. 13 player in the nation, Nebraska’s Maike Zeppernick, 6-4, 6-4 in the No. 6 singles match April 7.

“I’m hoping that that match will give her a lot of confidence for the rest of the conference season and the Big Ten Tournament and hopefully the NCAA Tournament,” Loring said.

In a competitive conference with four Big Ten teams ranked in the top 25, Jayawickrema might prove to be the spark the Hoosiers need to accomplish their preseason goals. Not only is her 15-1 record in her past 16 singles matches the best for any IU player, but Jayawickrema is 9-1 in the No. 6 singles spot. IU is 7-5 when any other player competes in the same position.

She said IU’s two wins against top 10 opponents, No. 2 Duke and No. 10 Michigan, brought the team together and that the team’s chemistry is peaking at the right time.

In addition to IU’s team unity, the Hoosiers’ home-court advantage will be one of their biggest assets in the postseason.

Jayawickrema said she thinks IU can do well when the team plays host for the Big Ten Tournament at the IU Tennis Center, where the Hoosiers are 10-2 this season.

It is only fitting that in her senior season the Big Ten Tournament is in Bloomington, on a campus she has grown to love as her second home.

“I think (I) just like the atmosphere itself. It’s not like it’s a big city at all,” Jayawickrema said. “I like it that way, and I love the campus.

“Just being around it, you feel like you’re at home. You don’t feel like you’re out of place.”

Click here to read this article on the Indiana Daily Student website. 

IU splits Big Ten matches with win at Iowa, loss at Nebraska

The No. 32 IU women’s tennis team split its Big Ten matches against Iowa and No. 13 Nebraska (18-3, 7-0) during the weekend. The Hoosiers defeated the Hawkeyes 6-1 Friday evening and suffered a 5-2 loss to the Cornhuskers on Sunday.

IU Coach Lin Loring said defeating Iowa was a great road win for IU because the Hawkeyes are tough to play at home.

“They had match points on Notre Dame when the Irish were No. 19 in the country,” he said.

The No. 34 doubles team of Ruth Seaborne and Morven McCulloch bested sophomore Carolyn Chupa and senior Leslie Hureau 8-4.

IU won the No. 2 and No. 3 matches to earn the doubles point. Sophomores Shannon Murdy and Alecia Kauss topped Christina Harazin and Katie Zordani 8-1 in the No. 2 match. Sophomore Katie Klyczek and junior Sophie Garre defeated Annette Dohanics and Caitlin Hindmarsh 8-4.

The Hoosiers controlled the singles matches by winning five of the six matches. In the No. 1 position, No. 111 Leslie Hureau bested No. 85 Seaborne 6-3, 6-2. No. 112 Katie Klyczek topped Shelby Talcott 7-6, 6-4 in the No. 2 singles match. Chupa, Kauss and Garre won their matches in consecutive sets in the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 matches, respectively. Iowa’s lone singles win was in the No. 6 match, when Hindmarsh defeated Murdy 6-4, 6-4.

“We struggled the first half hour of the doubles,” Loring said. “No. 3 came back from 3-0 down to win the doubles point for us. Then we won some very close first sets in singles and never let them back in the match.”

Nebraska won the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles matches. The No. 3 match was not finished. The No. 11 doubles team of Mary Weatherholt and Patricia Veresova defeated Hureau and Chupa 8-0 in the No. 1 match. In the No. 2 position, Stefanie Weinstein and Janine Weinreich topped Kauss and Murdy 8-6.

Nebraska then jumped out to a 5-0 lead by winning the first four singles matches. Weinstein bested Chupa 6-4, 6-2 in the No. 3 spot.

Veresova topped No. 112 Klyczek 6-2, 6-2 and No. 13 Weatherholt secured the victory for the Cornhuskers when she defeated No. 111 Hureau 7-5, 6-0. Weinreich earned Nebraska’s fifth and final point when she bested Kauss 7-6 (7-3), 6-4. Garre and senior Jithmie Jayawickrema won the No. 5 and No. 6 matches, respectively, in consecutive sets to bring the final score to 5-2.

With the victory against IU, Nebraska kept its perfect Big Ten record alive to stay atop the standings. After last weekend’s matches, IU is 15-6 overall this season and 4-3 in the conference. The Hoosiers will play Minnesota next Saturday and Wisconsin on Sunday at the IU Tennis Center.

Click here to read this article on the Indiana Daily Student website. 

No. 32 Hoosiers set for away matches

Riding a three-match win streak, which includes a victory against No. 10 Michigan, the No. 32 IU women’s tennis team (14-5, 3-2) will play on the road for the second weekend in a row. The Hoosiers will face Iowa at 4:30 p.m. Friday and No. 13 Nebraska at noon Sunday.

IU has cut back on practice leading up to this weekend’s matches due to the team’s two long road trips in consecutive weeks.

“We got back at about 11 o’clock last Sunday night, and we’ll probably get back around midnight or one o’clock this Sunday night, so it’s just important for us to rest our legs,” IU Coach Lin Loring said. “This is not an easy road trip because of (matches on) Friday and Sunday and driving six hours between the two sites. We just have to make sure that we’re fresh and ready to go.”

Loring said the bad part about IU’s schedule is that the team plays Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern and Purdue – all of whom are ranked in the top 25 – on the road this season. He said the Hoosiers have to make the most of their opportunities.

IU is in fifth place in the Big Ten after its pair of victories last weekend improved the team’s conference record to 3-2. Senior Leslie Hureau is ranked No. 111 in singles, and her teammate, sophomore Katie Klyczek, is ranked No. 112.

Iowa (8-8, 1-4) is tied for 10th in the conference. While the Hawkeyes have a .500 record through March, all of their losses have been against ranked opponents.

The Hawkeyes’ lone conference win was against No. 37 Illinois. Iowa junior Ruth Seaborne is ranked No. 85 in singles. Seaborne and Morven McCulloch are the No. 34 doubles tandem.

In the past decade, Iowa has a 7-5 advantage in dual matches against IU.

“The only thing that we’re concerned about at Iowa is that we really haven’t played in an outdoor match in strong wind,” Loring said. “It can get pretty windy there.”

Nebraska (16-3, 5-0) is first in the Big Ten. If the weather permits, the match will be played outdoors.

IU is 2-0 in outdoor matches this season. The Hoosiers defeated No. 2 Duke 4-2 and Michigan State 7-0 in those dual matches.

“They do play in a bubble, so if we play indoors we’ll have to get used to the bubble,” Loring said.

Nebraska has bested 10 ranked opponents this season, including wins against five teams ranked in the top 25.

Senior Mary Weatherholt is ranked No. 13 in singles. She will leave Nebraska as the winningest women’s tennis player in school history.

The doubles combination of Weatherholt and Patricia Veresova is No. 11 in the country.

IU and Nebraska have only faced each other once as conference foes. The Cornhuskers won that dual match 5-2 last spring.

“The bad thing for us this year is that we play every top-ranked team in the conference on the road,” he said. “We just have to give it our best shot.”

Click here to read this article on the Indiana Daily Student website.