Welcome to another edition of 6-Banner Sunday, where we highlight the six most essential IU basketball stories of the past week.
IU women’s basketball clinched their first WNIT title on Saturday in front of a raucous and record-setting crowd. They’re also being rewarded with the first banner in 6-Banner Sunday.
In this week’s edition:
- IU women win WNIT title
- Remembering Daryl Thomas
- Robert Johnson and Big Ten 3×3 squad advance
- Romeo Langford scores 19 in McDonald’s game
- Hoosier Network interviews commits Hunter, Forrester
- Best of the rest
IU women win WNIT title
The winningest senior class in IU women’s basketball history ended their careers as champions.
In front of 13,007 fans at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Saturday, the largest crowd the IU women have ever seen, the Hoosiers took home the Women’s NIT title by downing Virginia Tech, 65-57.
Buss wasn’t near her best in the title game, scoring 16 points on 6-of-21 shooting. Instead, it was Cahill (12 points, 5 rebounds) and freshman Jaelynn Penn (10 points, 10 rebounds) that provided the spark Indiana needed to give them their first title since the 2002 Big Ten Tournament.
It marked the end of a remarkable turnaround for Indiana, who finished the season winning 15 of their final 17 after an 8-12 start.
David Woods of The Indianapolis Star has more on Indiana’s win and Buss’ lasting impact on the program:
Although she was Illinois’ all-time top scorer and averaged 45 points a game as a senior, her Mount Carmel High School team never advanced as far as the Sweet 16 in Class 2A. Her small frame and small school persuaded skeptics she could never do anything big in college.
Instead, she leaves Indiana as the all-time leader in virtually every category. She increased her season total to 763 points, a total surpassed by one player in school history: Calbert Cheaney, 785 in 1992-93. Buss averaged 40.0 minutes played per game this season, a near-impossibility.
“She’s got so many individual awards. But that meant zero to her,” said Tim Buss, father of Tyra. “She always wanted a championship. What a way to go out … And by gosh, what a great team effort. They’re playing as good as anybody in the nation right now.”
More from the WNIT final:
- Buss and Cahill talk about ending their collegiate careers with a title (Herald-Times)
- Highlights and postgame interviews (IU Athletics)
- Indiana sends seniors out with WNIT championship (Hoosier Network)
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Remembering Daryl Thomas
The Hoosier behind the pass that led to ‘The Shot’ passed away this past week at the age of 52.
Daryl Thomas played for the Hoosiers from 1983-87. In his final collegiate game, he made the pass to Keith Smart in the final seconds that gave Indiana its fifth National Championship.
There were plenty of stories written about Thomas over the last few days, but my favorite came from Terry Hutchens of CNHI Indiana:
Talk to anyone about Thomas, and that’s one of the first things you hear. His smile. He just had a smile that could melt hearts.
“I’ve talked to a lot of his former teammates and managers today, and they all said the same thing, and that’s that Daryl had the best smile on the team,” (IU Deputy Athletic Director) Scott Dolson said. “People forget that he was kind of the glue guy on that ’87 team. What his teammates will tell you is that he was always the guy that kept everybody laughing. Daryl just had that way about him.”
(Todd) Meier, like all of his IU teammates, admitted Wednesday night he was absolutely shocked when he got that same phone call from Garrett.
“He always had that big smile, a great attitude and a warm personality,” Meier said. “He persevered and continued to improve and became an integral part of our run to the national championship. He was just a damn nice person. I don’t remember him ever getting pissed at anyone.”
Assembly Hall held a moment of silence for Thomas prior to the WNIT title game on Saturday.
Robert Johnson and Big Ten 3×3 squad advance
One day remains in the first ever college 3×3 tournament, and Robert Johnson and the Big Ten squad are three wins away from collecting a $100,000 prize.
In a tournament full of upsets, the Big Ten was one of the few heavyweights to avoid an early exit. The Big East, ACC and Big 12, the top three seeds, all went down in pool play.
Meanwhile, the Big Ten went a perfect 3-0 in pool play, handily defeating Conference USA, Southern, and Southland to book a spot in the quarterfinals. In doing so, the four-member team split $3,000.
Johnson showcased his range throughout the first two days of the competition, even knocking down the game-winning bucket against Conference USA.
The Big Ten resumes play today at 1:55 pm eastern when they face the SEC. It will be streamed via Twitter, while the final two elimination rounds will be shown on ESPN2.
More Robert Johnson content:
- Johnson joined the latest Podcast on the Brink to discuss his Indiana career and the 3×3 tournament
Romeo Langford stars in McDonald’s game
With Romeo Langford’s high school career in the books, he’s now playing in a series of all-star games.
In the first of several, and perhaps the highest-profile, Langford scored 19 points in the McDonald’s All-American Game.
Inside the Hall has a gallery and highlights from Langford’s 19 point night, as the five-star guard showcased his incredible offensive arsenal in front of a national audience.
As for Langford’s recruitment — Chris Mack’s hiring at Louisville hasn’t changed anything – he’s still deciding between Kansas, Vanderbilt, and Indiana. As for timing on the decision, expect an announcement sometime in mid-to-late April.
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Hoosier Network interviews commits Hunter, Forrester
In the last edition of 6-Banner Sunday, we shared The Hoosier Network’s interview with Freddie McSwain.
Well in the past week, they’ve released interviews with two incoming freshman — Jerome Hunter and Jake Forrester. The Hunter interview was conducted in person at Hunter’s high school in Pickerington, Ohio, while the Forrester interview was done via phone. Both are worth your time.
Hunter chatted about his goal of making the NBA, while Forrester discussed playing on a legendary high school team and his life off the court.
Best of the rest
There were so many candidates for this week’s sixth banner that we couldn’t decide between them. Here are just a few:
- No. 11 Indiana baseball completed a weekend sweep of Butler by demolishing the Bulldogs on Saturday, 10-3 (Herald-Times)
- IU softball is now 6-0 in Big Ten play after dominating Michigan State in a three-game series (IU Athletics)
- Thomas Bryant recorded 20 points and 10 rebounds as he helped lead the South Bay Lakers to the second round of the G-League playoffs (South Bay Lakers)
Before you go:
- Check out the newest edition of Assembly Call Radio, where the crew discussed what IU could learn from each of this year’s Final Four teams
And with that, the joy of hanging Banner #6 is now one week closer.
Thanks for your continued support for The Assembly Call. We’ll be back next weekend with a new roundup.
Now go enjoy yourself a 6-banner Sunday.