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Victoria Kemokai has left the Indiana women’s basketball team for personal reasons and will not return, according to a source.
The point guard Kemokai, who transferred to IU this summer from Tyler Junior College, chose to step away from the team while she deals with a family situation back home in Texas, the source said.
The news was later confirmed in a statement from IU head coach Teri Moren. Today marked the first day of practice for the women’s basketball team.
“Victoria will not be a part of our program this season due to family reasons back home in Texas,” Moren said. “We wish Victoria and her family the best during this time.”
Kemokai and Wabash Valley’s Tyshee Towner both joined the Hoosiers this offseason after earning National Junior College All-America honors as sophomores. Kemokai was expected to compete for time at the point guard position, which was vacated by Larryn Brooks after her transfer to Texas Tech.
While Kemokai missed a large part of summer workouts because of a prior arthroscopic procedure on her knee, she made an impression on head coach Teri Moren and was expected to be a part of the backcourt mix.
”In the short time I was around Victoria, I would say this – I wouldn’t count her out for anything,” Moren said in early August. “She’s a survivor, a tough kid that is going to challenge you. She’ll fight for minutes, she’ll fight for a position and she wants to be on the floor.”
Four players, including Brooks, left IU following Moren’s first season as coach. Without Kemokai, the Hoosiers will be down to 10 available scholarship players. Tia Elbert, another point guard who came over from Marquette, has to sit out the 2015-2016 season as part of her transfer.
It may not become clear until late this week whether Nate Sudfeld will be able to play Saturday at Penn State, but the Indiana quarterback said Monday that he’s hopeful a lingering ankle injury won’t keep him out of action.
Sudfeld evaluated himself Monday as “day-to-day,” previewing a week ahead that will include plenty of medical rehabilitation and potentially very little practice. The senior said he could be ready to play Saturday even without practicing this week, but it remains to be seen whether mental reps will be enough for both Sudfeld and the Hoosiers’ offense to enter the weekend ready to go.
“As a quarterback, you really need to get practice reps to be good,” Sudfeld said. “It’s not just about me running the ball, or whatever. It’s about me having timing with my receivers, knowing where they’re going to be, feeling the routes and things like that. It’s really going to be a lot of work to get those mental reps and make sure I’m on the same page with those guys. Physically, I need to make sure I’m with them as well.”
Sudfeld’s ankle injury dates to the Wake Forest game on Sept. 26, when he injured himself during the fourth quarter of IU’s 31-24 victory in Winston-Salem. Sudfeld aggravated the injury during the first half last week against No. 1 Ohio State and said he continued playing on it thanks to a wave of adrenaline that carried him as far as the third quarter. By then, however, the ankle became too unstable to plant during the throwing process.
Sudfeld felt it was noticeable on his last two drives midway through the third quarter, when he tossed his final two passes of the day into the turf. At that point, he approached IU’s training staff about getting taped. Backup Zander Diamont entered the game and remained the IU quarterback over the final quarter and a half. Sudfeld said he asked to go back onto the field, but IU coach Kevin Wilson did not allow it. (more…)
1. HOOSIERS HQ
IU football showed depth and competitiveness against Ohio State, but the Hoosiers still need to improve over the course of a rugged Big Ten schedule, Andy writes.
The Buckeyes gave Indiana its due credit after Saturday’s tussle, Jon wrote.
It was a gray day on Saturday, but Indiana showed its future was bright against the Buckeyes, Andy wrote.
IU was an unwitting participant in a forthcoming book about an alleged sex scandal at Louisville, Mike writes.
2. IT’S INDIANA
Despite the final bad snap and ultimate loss, Saturday’s performance wasn’t IU football as we know it, Gregg Doyel of the Indiaanpolis Star writes.
IU showed its bowl potential against the Buckeyes, but are the Hoosiers ready to finish the job the rest of the season, asks Pete DiPrimio of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel.
IU recruits loved what they saw on the field and in the stands against Ohio State, Brody Miller of the Indiana Daily Student writes.
Greater consistency, including on his jump shot, is Robert Johnson’s goal for his sophomore year with IU basketball, Alex Bozich of Inside the Hall writes.
ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla was in Bloomington last week as Tom Crean’s Hoosiers opened practice with “great effort,” Alex Bozich of Inside the Hall writes.
3. ONE FOR THE ROAD
A different beat, but the same old result against Ohio State — “It’s the Same Old Song” by The Four Tops.
Zander Diamont has made it clear since the spring. If Indiana needs him, he’ll be ready.
The Hoosiers did need him on Saturday after an ankle injury forced starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld to the sideline midway through the third quarter. That opened time for Diamont, who nearly helped IU to the game-tying score during the final seconds.
“I’m always preparing as if I’m going to see the field, especially coming out of experiences from last season,” Diamont said. “I know not to take any week for granted. I can’t take days off.”
Diamont started the final six games in 2014 following a season-ending shoulder injury to Sudfeld. Diamont grew into the position, and by the final weeks of the year, he had developed from an overwhelmed freshman to a competent backup.
The sophomore led Indiana with 98 total rushing yards on Saturday, picking up a large chunk on a 79-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. That run stands as the longest rush by a quarterback in IU history.
“I’ve been doing that in practice and in training camp,” Diamont said. “I knew I could do it. I broke for (53) on them last year. We ran it with them last year, and we had a lead in the third quarter. We didn’t come out here trying to have a close game. We came out here to win. We thought we were going to win. We really did.”
Diamont completed six of his 14 passes for 76 yards and credited his experience last season for allowing him to be prepared at a moment’s notice in 2015.
“Even though I’m a sophomore, I came out of last year and started to feel like a veteran,” Diamont said. “I felt like I have the respect of the team. I know that. Just the minutes on the field really paid off. There’s no way to describe the difference it made. If I didn’t have those reps last year, I would’ve have been prepared for a game like today. Apart from not being completely warmed up, I felt great.”
Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said quarterback Nate Sudfeld and running back Jordan Howard were each limited by ankle injuries during the Hoosiers’ 34-27 loss to No. 1 Ohio State.
The availabilities of both players for next Saturday’s game at Penn State will not be known until the practice week, and may not be revealed until kickoff in State College.
“They’re both good enough players that they don’t have to practice every play,” Wilson said. “I do think timing is always a part of Nate’s deal, so we’ll see. He wanted to go back in the last couple drives. I just didn’t feel he was as mobile, and thought — we were in a one-possession game, we could work it.”
Sudfeld’s injury dates back to last week’s win at Wake Forest, and the senior aggravated it against Ohio State. By the time he gave way to Zander Diamont midway through the third quarter, Sudfeld had completed 10 of his 21 passes for 134 yards.
“He could have played,” Sudfeld said. “He wanted to come back in.”
Howard retreated to the locker room after limping off the field in the first half. He carried the ball on IU’s first play after halftime, but left the field immediately afterward and did not return.
Howard finished with 34 yards on 14 carries, and saw his streak of eight consecutive 100-yard rushing games come to an end. Devine Redding played the rest of the way, netting 45 yards on 30 carries.
“Jordan tried to go,” Wilson said.
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