What To Make Of Indiana's Returning Roster: Amanda Cahill

Sam Beishuizen, Staff Writer
The Hoosier

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Indiana women's basketball fans are in for a new-look roster when Teri Moren's Hoosiers take the floor for the 2017-18 season.

In the time since IU lost to Villanova in the WNIT on March 26, five would-be returning players have left the program for various reasons. That's on top of the five-member senior class group that exhausted eligibility.

Redshirt junior guard Tia Elbert went first when she decided to leave the team and instead focus on her schoolwork for the next two years. Junior Laken Wairau and sophomore Darby Foresman both opted for similar routes.

Ria Gulley wound up transferring to Liberty.

Danielle Williams was the last of the bunch, taking a medical hardship.

Gulley was the toughest loss. She started five games last season early on and wound up averaging 3.1 points over 32 games. She was projected to fight for a starting spot at shooting guard moving forward.

Foresman was the surprise of the bunch. She, like Gulley, projected to fight for starting time perhaps at center or at the very least continue to back up senior power forward Amanda Cahill next season. Foresman averaged 1.6 points and 1.7 rebounds in about nine minutes per game last season.

Elbert wasn't going to contend for major minutes but could have contributed to the guard rotation next season and perhaps see a larger role as a fifth-year senior. She played just 6.7 minutes per game last season as a backup point guard behind rising senior star Tyra Buss.

Wairu was seldom-used as a sophomore. She saw the floor for only three minutes. Although she could have made strides over the offseason, she was going to need a significant jump to make an impact on the program.

And Williams was much like Wairu. She battled a few too many injuries and played just four minutes all of last season.

So who's left?

Five incoming freshmen are on the way, and they should provide depth across the board. Some may even fight for starting spots.

But of the returning bunch, there's a mix of proven talent and potential.

Today we look at Amanda Cahill.

Amanda Cahill: Indiana's quiet superstar

Watching Cahill play basketball can be both boring and spectacular at the same time.

The 6-foot-2 senior forward doesn't do anything particularly flashy. She's a classic power forward who's able to stretch the floor or work in the post depending on what the defense gives her. She doesn't lean one way more than the other.

She's an above-average passer who rarely makes poor decisions. She finished her junior season fifth in the Big Ten at 8.9 rebounds per game to go along with 14.8 points per contest. That helped her earn a Second-Team nod on the All-Big Ten team while off the floor also being named CoSIDA Academic All-American.

Teamed up with Buss, one of her best friends, "B" is a force in the post who forces defenses to pick their poison.

If they don't stop her in transition she'll pull up for a 3-point try. If Cahill sees a mismatch in the post she'll back the defender down and score near the basket.

Cahill isn't a human highlight reel and shies away from attention. And that's just fine for Indiana, because the points and rebounds speak for themselves.

Outlook: Expect Cahill to remain one of the Big Ten's best

"Hey look, Cahill's already almost at a double-double."

That sentence got passed along press row just about every single game. She finished the 2016-17 season with 12 double-doubles to reach 29 for her career. Her individual double-double figure ranked No. 43 nationally a year ago.

Basketball is a game of so many variables where things can change, ebb and flow from night to night. Cahill was an outlier, a steady rock who was a near guarantee to end up around the double-double mark night in and night out.

That type of consistency is a luxury that Indiana will lean on one final time in 2017-18.

Without Jenn Anderson in the post, Cahill may be asked to play the traditional center position a bit more often simply because she can defend that position as well as anyone else on IU's roster. She might see an increase in her rebounding numbers as a result.

Cahill's 3-point shooting percentage dipped a bit down to 39.3 percent from just over 40 percent, but her volume took a steady climb too. That should only continue moving forward as the Hoosiers lean more and more on Cahill and Buss for scoring.

One way or another, Cahill will get her numbers.

She always does.


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