When her layup fell through the net and tied Wednesday’s game against Clemson at 42-42 late in the second half, Indiana’s Quaneisha McCurty backed herself toward midcourt, soaked in the cheers at Assembly Hall and threw her fist into the air.
It was about as much outward emotion as you might typically see from the shy and stoic sophomore. But it was also a conduit to the inner drive of McCurty, who began the season as a starter only to see her minutes dwindle to an average of three per game over the four contests leading into Wednesday’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Assembly Hall.
It wasn’t her best game — she was especially weak offensively, shooting only 2 of 10 from the field. But she managed to stay high enough, confident enough to compartmentalize those misses on the other side of the floor and provide a much-needed defensive boost. She tied a career high with six blocks and managed to put herself in a good enough defensive position to alter shots and keep Clemson honest in the post.
“She came in and played really well for us tonight,” forward Aulani Sinclair said. “Her size really helped us out. She had a couple blocks which were really big for us.”
Overall, this one was ugly (as you may have seen). But there were a couple notes to take from the night:
— The win was IU’s first in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge since knocking off Miami in 2008.
— It was Indiana fifth consecutive game of holding an opponent to under 50 points. (Though, to be fair, Clemson had some really ugly possessions and shot only 24 percent for the night. Just so you know.)
— Indiana’s 6-1 start is the program’s best since going 6-1 to open the 2006-07 season.
— IU commit Jenn Anderson scored 23 points in Westfield’s win over Lebanon to become the Shamrocks’ all-time leading scorer.