It’s been an up-and-down season for the Indiana Hoosier women. They started the season red hot, taking down ranked Michigan State and finding their way into the Top 25 Rankings.
From then on, they would win some and lose some but still played strong in each game, pushing the opposing teams to the limit and coming close to a few upsets, despite numerous close heartbreakers.
Coming into Thursday night’s home showdown with No. 10 Iowa, the Hoosiers had lost 8 of their last 10 games while the Hawkeyes had won 12 of their last 14 games and have been almost unstoppable, so Indiana was really looking to get back on track and make a statement heading into the final week and a half of the season before the Big 10 Tournament gets underway.
Thursday saw the return of PG Ali Patberg for the Hoosiers, who went down against Minnesota with a dislocated shoulder but the Iowa defense, led by F Megan Gustafson, held the Indiana scoring attack to a minimum in the first half, forcing them down to just 33% from the field and 25% from beyond the arc, while the Hawkeyes shot an impressive 43% from the field and 54% from 3.
The three-person attack of Ali Patberg, Jaelynn Penn and Brenna Wise for the Hoosiers was back yet again, with Wise scoring 9, Patberg with 8 and Penn with 7 and only trailed 38-30 at halftime, opening the door for an exciting second half.
The second half was a completely different story, with Indiana cutting the lead down slowly but surely. The Hoosiers tightened up their defense and shut down Gustafson on numerous occasions, pressuring the Hawkeye attack.
Iowa led by as many as 16 points in the second half but the Hoosiers kept their confidence and spread the ball around, with Wise and Patberg both scoring over 20 points- Wise securing a double double (24 and 12) and Patberg with 21 points and 7 assists. Penn added 14 points and 6 rebounds.
The Hoosiers switched to a zone defense in the second half, which threw Iowa off their game and really gave Indiana an advantage down the stretch. As the Hoosiers started to cut the lead down and even take the lead, the Hawkeyes weren’t going away easy, with numerous lead changes taking place in the last few minutes but Wise and Patberg kept hitting the big shots when it mattered.
Then, with just 3.8 seconds to go, Bendu Yeaney drove in for a late layup and game-sealing block that put the final nail in the coffin for the Hawkeyes, giving the Hoosiers a much needed win and Head Coach Teri Moren her 100th win at Indiana.
Indiana returns to action next week as they head to Northwestern before coming back home to end the season against Purdue.