After years of searching, you finally found "the one." At first you were guarded, but soon you allowed yourself to be happy. Then one day, they were gone. It didn't make sense, and maybe it will never make sense. A year has gone by. You found someone new, but it isn't the same. Is there actually something wrong with coach Teri Moren? Or are you just missing Curt Miller?
Fear not, Hoosier fans: BT Powerhouse is here to help you through these troubled times.
How Bad Is It?
Let's begin with a quick game that I'm calling Hoosier Point Guard? The rules are simple: you win if you can name Player A and Player B.
(Stats and figures courtesy of WBBState.com)
If you said Player A is Larryn Brooks, you were right! And if you said Player B is Larryn Brooks, you were right!
Player A is Larryn Brooks as she performed in the 2013-14 season under coach Curt Miller. Player B is Brooks as she performed in 2014-15 under coach Teri Moren. Both years, it should be said, Brooks was the Hoosier's leading scorer. Now, since players don't usually get significantly worse between their freshman and sophomore years, it's natural to wonder what the hell went wrong. Unfortunately, we'll never have a "Player C"; Brooks transferred as part of an offseason that resembled a prison break and saw Brooks flee for Texas Tech, sophomore Taylor Agler scamper to Ohio University, and freshman Maura Muensterman skedaddle to Nashville and Belmont, University.
That's... not great. But freshman guard Tyra Buss and freshman forward Amanda Cahill were both pretty good last year! Of course, they were both recruited by Miller... But maybe, unlike Larryn Brooks, they'll get better under Teri Moren's coaching?
Ugh, I can't do this anymore. Indiana, I'm sorry, your situation sucks. There's only one thing left to do: Grab a pint of Ben and Jerry's, we're going to trash the ex.
How Good Was Curt Miller, Really?
His reputation as Hoosier Moses, ready to lead Indiana to the promised land of the NCAA tournament, is based on one year, the 2013-14 season. The year before, Miller's first year, the Hoosiers went 11 - 19 overall, an improvement over Felisha Legette-Jack's final season as coach, but you still wouldn't call it good. The next year, Miller's second with Indiana, they became downright competent, posting a 21 - 13 record and the Hoosier's best winning percentage since 2008.
Sounds nice, right? Well, those 21 wins came mostly against a cupcake out-of-conference schedule. Against Big Ten competition, Indiana went a disappointing 5 - 11. Excitement amongst the Hoosier fans certainly had less to do with what Miller had accomplished, and more to do with what he might accomplish - the burgeoning Hoosier dynasty suggested by the emergence of Larryn Brooks as a freshman and a recruiting class highlighted by Tyra Buss and Amanda Cahill.
Would the team have continued to get better and better? Or would the Hoosiers have settled in to the Big Ten's middle class, or even regressed? Before we could find out, Miller abruptly resigned for "health and family" reasons. Whatever, Curt. I hope being an assistant for the Los Angeles Sparks makes you happy.
The Likely Starting Five
Indiana is bringing in two 3-Star recruits: 6'-2" Kym Royster and 6'-4" Danielle Williams. No one, not even the impeccably informed Dan Olson of ESPN's Hoop Gurlz, can consistently predict how high schoolers will perform at the next level, but still, two 3-star recruits isn't exactly a flood of new talent. It's not even a heavy rain of talent. It's more of a trickle, or maybe some light condensation. You get the idea. The opening-day starters are probably already on the team.
Guard Tyra Buss (11.7 PPG, 3.7 Reb, 3.2 Ast) is a lock to take over as the primary ball handler in her sophomore season, although her 24% shooting from deep is a problem. Larryn Brooks was the best 3-point shooter among Indiana's starters last year at 36%, a mark good enough to keep defenses honest. Without Brooks, smart teams will be more aggressive about clogging the lane, and Buss' efficiency could suffer.
Forward Amanda Cahill (10.8 PPG, 7.7 Reb, 1.5 Ast) started her freshman year, and remains a double-double threat. Center Jess Anderson "started" all but three games last year, while averaging less than 20 minutes a game, as Moren struggled to find lineups that could, you know, score more points than the other team.
The final two spots are probably going to bombers: 5'-10" Alexis Gassion is tall for a guard, and averaged 6.1 rebounds a game while shooting 34.8% from deep, and guard Jess Walter looked good in limited minutes while shooting a very impressive 41.7% from behind the arc.
Squint and you can see the outline of a pretty good team. Best case scenario, a young nucleus grows together (possibly by living and blogging together.) The team demonstrates a newfound mastery of Moren's system, one of the 3-star recruits plays like a 5-star recruit, Buss develops some three-point touch, and the Hoosiers win twice as many conference games as they did last year, coming within spitting distance of .500. Worst case scenario... hmm... I'm trying to think of something worse than a new coach mishandling a star player so badly that she transfers, leaving the team bereft of upperclass talent while failing to bring in any top high school recruits. Actually, that might be as bad as it gets. Congratulations, Hoosiers! Welcome to the season of Nowhere To Go But Up!