Coming into Monday night’s game vs. No. 23 Rutgers, the Indiana Hoosier women had lost three straight games and were looking to get back on track with their star PG Ali Patberg still on the sidelines recovering from injury.
Needless to say, this was a must-win for the Hoosiers and they came into the game playing like it was exactly that. They didn’t let their previous games’ woes get them down and played with extreme confidence from the start, pressing the Scarlet Knights throughout the first half. Defense was the name of the game and pressure was their strategy early on and they made sure to make Rutgers work for every point they scored.
Sophomore G Jaelynn Penn scored the Hoosiers’ first 6 points and Freshman PG Grace Berger played an important role in the first half as well, playing one of her strongest games and has really started to gain confidence as the season goes on.
Both teams went into the second half with almost identical stat lines, Rutgers leading Indiana in FG% by 1% and 3 Point FG% by 2%, tied at 9 turnovers and very close in steals, rebound and blocks, with Rutgers holding tight to a 1-point lead at halftime.
The second half was more of the same, with Indiana holding Rutgers scoreless until the 3 minute mark of the 3rd quarter and the Hoosiers continued to play tight defense, pressuring the Scarlet Knights every chance they could.
Rutgers’ scoring attack was too much, for Indiana in the end, though, stifling the Hoosiers in the critical moments of the game and showing why they’ve stayed among the top ranks of the Big 10 throughout the season, coming back to win 69-61 in a heartbreaking fourth-straight loss for Indiana.
In the end, the Hoosiers have a lot to be proud of and plenty to build off of from this game when they face another tough opponent on Thursday night when they host No. 10 Iowa.