With 7:03 to play in the first quarter, IU Coach Teri Moren called a timeout.
There was something that just seemed off with the Hoosiers. They trailed by four and weren’t matching the energy that the Nittany Lions had come out with.
Just minutes later, IU freshman guard Ria Gulley lost a loose ball, which Penn State jumped on. They then called timeout and scored on the ensuing possession. The Nittany Lions led by six, the biggest lead they would see all night.
Moren’s Hoosiers overcame a slow start by scoring 13 straight first quarter points and came away with a 72-66 win over Penn State on Monday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
“It wasn’t pretty,” IU junior guard Tyra Buss said about the early timeout. “She said we were lackadaisical. I thought we were in slow motion. We didn’t come out with a lot of energy. I felt like I was going in slow motion. Our defense, we weren’t rotating very well, not communicating.”
Moren used two specific words to explain those first few minutes: sluggish and lethargic. Once the Hoosiers were able to get into it, the game turned into a success.
IU senior guard Karlee McBride’s two straight 3-pointers keyed the 13 straight points. Those were the only shots from behind the arc IU hit all game long. IU tied the game up at 12 and they kept rolling from there. The Hoosiers shot 43.8 percent for the quarter and led by five after the opening 10 minutes.
The Hoosiers rode that momentum past the first quarter and that enabled them to not have to play catch-up as the game wore on. McBride has struggled with her shot as of late, and only had two field goals Monday, but they were two big field goals.
“We’ve seen Karlee do that,” Moren said. “She’s hit some big shots for us. It couldn’t have come at a better time. We needed something in that building to energize us and our fans. There in the first couple of minutes it wasn’t a fun game to watch. For Karlee to come off and get us going, that was the shot in the arm we needed.”
With just two ties and three lead changes all night, it is safe to say that when IU took the lead at the 2:08 mark of the first quarter it was the biggest lead change of the night. If not for the 13 straight points, it could have been a very different game. The Hoosiers rebounded nicely and from there, were able to get the victory.
That early timeout seemed to be a game changer.
“That timeout was really needed,” Buss said. “We were in slow motion at the beginning of the game. After that, we came out with a lot of energy, made the comeback and we cruised on from there.”
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