After beginning the season 2-0, Coach Teri Moren and her team had an had an unusual opportunity to have a break early in the season.
Following a 27-point victory over Oakland University, the Hoosiers were able to take a week off before returning to action Sunday. It was a needed break that allowed sophomore guards Bendu Yeaney and Jaelynn Penn to recover from some nagging injuries.
The Hoosiers came out fresh on Sunday, handling the University of North Florida with ease, 75-52. Yeaney scored 14 points and Penn had 12.
Now, the long rests are over as IU prepares for its next opponent located just 84 miles south of North Florida — the Florida Gators.
Here’s three things to know about IU’s next matchup.
1. Rough start to the season
Florida is a prestigious university from the SEC, but its women’s basketball team will enter Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall with a winless record.
The Gators have lost each game by 10 points or less, with the most recent loss against Northwestern in overtime.
Despite the zero in the win column for Florida, Moren said it’s deceiving.
“I tell our kids don’t sleep on that 0-4 start for them,” Moren said on her radio show Monday. “This is by far the most athletic team that we will have faced up until this point.”
2. High scoring guards
That athleticism Moren refers to is due, in large part, to the guard play for the Gators.
Florida is led by its 5-foot-8-inch guard Funda Nakkasoglu. The Australia native is averaging 23 points per game, posting 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting against Northwestern.
The Gators' second leading scorer is Delicia Washington, who is averaging 18.5 points and eight rebounds per game.
With these point averages, Nakkasoglu and Washington are in the top five of the SEC for scoring.
“Two young ladies that can just fill up a stat sheet,” Moren said. “So, we’re going to have our hands full, we know that. We’re going to have to be sound defensively.”
3. Patberg is starting to take control
Some call the point guard position the most important in basketball, like a quarterback for football. It’s the point guard’s job to find that perfect balance of pushing the tempo or running the half-court offense, and getting teammates involved or finding their own buckets.
Through three games, junior Ali Patberg has exceeded expectations in that role. Patberg is currently averaging 16.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and four assists per game. In the team’s last victory over North Florida, Patberg had her first double-double of the season with 20 points and 13 rebounds.
“I thought Ali Patberg was superb,” Moren said. “I just thought she did a great job of handling herself and running our team.”
Moren later said that’s how they need Patberg to play, and with a tough challenge in the backcourt coming her way Wednesday, expect Patberg to continue to take control on the court.
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