Until Friday night, Indiana had never lost a season-opening game under coach Dave Woodall. Woodall has been around long enough for that to be quite an impressive statistic.
Starting his 18th season, he’s also been around long enough that he knows not to put too much stock into one bad opener.
Indiana ended its 17-year run of season-opening victories and appearances in the Indiana Basketball Boosters Tip-Off Tournament championship game with a 46-36 loss to Bishop McCort in the opening round Friday evening at Fifth Street Gymnasium.
“That doesn’t really matter to me,” he said. “That’s not important. It’s that we’ve got to get better. We have lots of things to work on and young kids willing to work. We certainly have the potential to be good. If it takes a loss at the beginning of the year, then so be it.”
The Indians face Johnstown in the consolation game at 3 p.m. today.
Playing without injured senior guard Kaitlyn Hoff, Indiana held a 25-19 lead after a sloppy first half Friday, but shot just 3 of 26 in the second half, while committing 13 of its 22 total turnovers.
“Obviously we were very young out there tonight. We made a lot of turnovers and some bad decisions with the ball,” said Woodall, who had just one senior in the lineup Friday. “We did some good things, but it’s more of an experience thing than anything else. I saw a ton of positives. We had the lead for three quarters of the game it seemed like. We’ve obviously got to take much better care of the basketball. That was the big bugaboo. Defensively we did some good things. We were defending them well, but they got turnovers for easy baskets. It’s tough to keep up with that.”
The Crushers didn’t take their first lead until early in the fourth quarter. The teams were tied at 31 after the third.
Lucy Bujdos, a 5-foot-9 junior forward, led Indiana with 17 points. She had 15 in the first half, but foul trouble got to her and a few other Indians.
“Lucy had two fouls, Jess (Stever) had two fouls, so things kind of went down,” Woodall said.
A freshman point guard, Stever made two 3-pointers and finished with eight points while running the offense.
“Playing in her first game as a point guard as a freshman, you don’t get much more pressure than that,” Woodall said. “She did a good job. She had some turnovers, but overall she did a good job for us. Everybody had positives here. We’ve got to look at the positives, look at the things we need to work on.”
The turnovers, though, limited the Indians’ effectiveness on offense and didn’t give them a chance to set up on defense.
Bishop McCort took advantage with 20 points from Morgan Instone and 10 from Katie Wilson.
“We didn’t execute fully on offense like we wanted to,” Woodall said. “The zone (defense) definitely gave us a little bit of trouble. When we did what we were supposed to do, we usually got a good shot. When we didn’t, we usually ended up with a turnover. We just have to learn to execute. You get a little bored doing the same thing all the time on offense, but if it works, why switch? Sometimes we’d get a little bored and try something else, and it ended with a turnover for a basket.”
Latrobe defeated Johnstown, 62-41, in the other opening-round game Friday. The Wildcats face Bishop McCort in the championship game at about 6:15 p.m.