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It’s official: Miller to Indiana

North Harrison senior Tara Miller made it official last Wednesday when she signed a national letter-of-intent to play for the Indiana University Lady Hoosiers next season.
‘All the pressure is off,’ Miller said. ‘I’m excited. It’s what I’ve dreamed of my whole life, and then I sign a little piece of paper. I can’t believe it just paid for a scholarship.’
Miller made her decision last season, verbally committing to the Bloomington campus, but she couldn’t sign until this fall. Coach Missy Voyles said with the signing, Miller can focus on her game.
‘I think it helped her last year making that decision,’ Voyles said. ‘It was one last thing she had to think about to play. It’s finally here. She’s excited about it. She likes IU. I’m excited for her, because she’s in a program (that), I think, is on the move.’
Miller last season averaged 19.6 points, six rebounds, 6.6 assists and 4.2 steals a game. She, along with Corydon’s Dana Beaven, was named to ‘The (Louisville) Courier-Journal’ All-State First Team and this season was named to the preseason All-State team by
Miller has set some higher goals for herself, hoping to make a run at Miss Basketball and the Indiana All-Star team. She said she prefers that added pressure.
‘I have a huge goal, and I always set high goals so I can try to reach them,’ she said. ‘I’ll practice every day and play as much as possible. I know people have accomplished a lot of other goals, and I know I’ve been playing my hardest. It’s not just pure skill but playing all the time and the people that are better than you help you get better.’
‘I think it’s obtainable,’ Voyles said of Miller’s list of goals. ‘She has the skill for it. It’s quite an honor. I don’t think she has to go out and score 30 a game. The state looks for your well-rounded player, somebody that can lead a team. I think what she does as far as pulling this team together and winning games, and getting herself motivated that way really makes a difference.’
Miller, even with this season just beginning, has already thought about goals for herself as a freshman at Indiana.
‘I look at what other people have done, then I set higher goals for myself,’ said ‘Katie Gearlds (of Purdue University and Miss Basketball 2003) has already got Big Ten Freshman Player of the Year. When I see that, I want to do that, too. I’m going to push myself to do that at IU.’
Indiana coach Kathi Bennett’s response to Miller’s signing was like that of a kid at Christmas.
‘Yaaaaaaay! We’re very happy about that one,’ Bennett gushed during a telephone interview Friday. ‘She’s one of the most competitive players I’ve seen. I respect how hard of worker she is.’
Miller is expected to fill the shoes of IU senior LeeAnn Stephenson, a 5-6 point guard from Garland, Texas, who was plagued by injuries last season. Stephenson was recovering from a knee injury at the beginning of the season when she suffered a chest injury just before the Big Ten Tournament.
Bennett said she expects Miller to make an immediate impact for IU her first year.
‘I think she’s going to contribute a lot as a freshman,’ Bennett said. ‘At point guard, her size and competitiveness is great for us. I watched her in the summer and was sold then.’
Miller said one of the things that has helped her game is playing against boys most of her life.
‘I play against guys, because they help out a lot, especially with my brother (Chad),’ she said. ‘He helps out a lot. Ever since I was in third grade, I was playing against eighth-grade boys.
‘It makes a huge difference. You’re aggressive and you’re mean. Guys make you mean. That meanness helps out a lot. You’re more determined, and guys always say girls aren’t as good. I’m very determined to show them that I am better.’
‘She’s my kind of player,’ Bennett said. ‘I feel like she can play any position on the floor. She can really turn it up and has a great feel for the game, is a good passer and makes good decisions. She sees the floor very well. You win with players like Tara.’
On the Indiana University web site, Bennett went on to say about Miller: ‘Tara is a very complete player. She brings us great size at the point guard and off guard positions. I feel very good about having Tara come play for us, and she will be a great fit for our program.’