New challenges for IU women’s hoops

In her first year as Indiana University’s women’s basketball coach, Seymour’s Teri Moren faced plenty of challenges.

The Hoosiers finished 15-16 (4-14 Big Ten Conference) for the 2014-15 season with a home record of 11-6, away finish of 3-9 and a record of 1-1 on neutral courts.

A huge accomplishment for the Hoosiers came during the Big Ten Tournament, when they defeated Penn State in the first round — IU’s first tourney win since 2009.

Now that Assembly Hall has closed its gates for the season, perhaps Moren’s biggest challenge now presents itself — in the past three weeks following the Big Ten Tournament, four players already have decided to leave the program.

Larryn Brooks, Taylor Agler, Liz Stratman and Maura Muensterman will not return to the Hoosiers for the 2015-16 season.

While all of the departures were for different reasons, one constant remains the same — all four were signed by former coach Curt Miller: the ghost of Hoosiers past.

Remember that Miller guy? What ever happened to him?

After taking the Hoosiers from 11-19 to 21-13 from 2012 to 2014, Miller resigned from the team unexpectedly for “personal health and family reasons” on July 25 this past year.

This week, the Indiana Daily Student announced that Miller will accept an assistant-coaching role with the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.

Coincidentally, the Sparks are coached by Brian Agler — Taylor Agler’s father. Taylor signed to the Hoosiers when Miller acted as coach.

Stratman, the most recent departure, transferred to IU in the summer of 2014 and was forced to sit out the 2014-15 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Before coming to IU, Stratman was named the 2014 Big East Defensive Player of the Year at Butler after leading the conference with 79 blocks.

With a lack of inside presence in 2014-15, the senior was expected to add much-needed post depth next season.

The other three transfers all left in the second week of March, just a week following their final game.

Agler, a promising sophomore for the Hoosiers, announced she was transferring to Texas Tech around March 10. The second-year player started the first 49 games (24 under then-head coach Miller) during her tenure.

Following an ankle injury in a Jan. 11 game against Wisconsin, she lost her starting job to Alexis Gassion. The remainder of the season, Agler saw her minutes dwindle as other players stepped up as the season concluded.

This past season, Muensterman was thought of as a highly touted signing after her shooting exploits at the high school level. The freshman played in 14 games, averaging 0.9 points prior to her departure.

The biggest blow, by far, is losing Brooks — the face of the program.

You couldn’t miss Brooks on the court, with her red-dyed hair and emphatic energy and extroverted leadership.

Brooks’ second season was less than desirable after the hype that followed her being named to the Big Ten’s all-second team her first year at IU.

In her freshman year, she averaged 16.3 points. During 2014-15, she dropped to 11.9 ppg.

Still, the sophomore was the only Hoosier to average more than 10 points in Big Ten games.

Right now, the Hoosiers have two signed commitments: Kym Royster, a 6-foot-2 forward from Newark High School in Ohio; and Danielle Williams, a 6-foot-4 post player hailing from North Crowley High School in Texas.

For their positions, according to ESPN, Royster sits as the 19th-best forward and Williams at 17th-best center in the country.

With a junior-heavy roster, and with just two seniors expected to return, the Hoosiers still are a young team searching for an identity.

Now, Moren’s duties in recruiting come into play — the future is hers to mold.

Moren now has time to scout the players she wants. She only has a handful of players inherited from Miller still around, and they’re committed to Moren’s plans.

This is Moren’s time to leave her mark.

Jordan Morey is the sports editor of The Tribune. Send comments to [email protected].