High-fives are not a category one can find on the postgame stat sheet, but IU women’s basketball Coach Teri Moren said junior guard Ali Patberg has given out more than any player she has coached.
The comment came Sunday after IU defeated Missouri State University 98-74 — a game in which Patberg had 16 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds.
The 13 assists were tied for second-most in a single game in program history, highlighting the selfless that Moren has stressed all season.
“Ali being our leader out there, the one with the ball, she is always willing to give people good juice,” Moren said. “She always wants to bring out the best in others and her teammates.”
It wasn’t hard for Patberg to be selfless against the Lady Bears as four of her teammates scored in double figures.
“Every single player on our team can score,” Patberg said. “The best thing about our team is that we can score, but we are willing to pass the ball.”
Alongside Patberg, senior forward Kym Royster contributed with her second double-double of the season by dropping 10 points along with 10 rebounds.
Royster and sophomore center Linsey Marchese have both seen an increase in playing time since freshman forward Aleksa Gulbe injured her ankle in practice.
Royster and Marchese combined for 19 points, and IU outrebounded Missouri State 38-25.
“Kym had a quite double-double,” Moren said. “We need Aleksa back. It’s just a matter of time. I think we’ll have her for Puerto Rico.”
The win improves IU’s record to 9-0 while also extending the nation’s longest win streak dating back to last season to 15 games.
The wins are starting to earn IU national attention, as the team received five votes to be ranked in the top 25 last week. With two wins this week, it will certainly be interesting to see how many votes IU earns this time around.
However, the win streak and the rankings are something Moren said she and the team do not discuss.
“We don’t have to tell our kids anything that they already don’t know,” Moren said. “They have high expectations of what they want to accomplish.”
While Partberg and junior Brenna Wise did not play last season due to NCAA transfer rules, sophomore guard Jaelynn Penn has been a major piece in the winning streak.
Last season she was the third scorer behind Tyra Buss and Amanda Cahill, and despite a nagging ankle injury, has begun to piece it together this year.
After scoring fewer than 10 points in each of the season’s first two games, Penn has scored double figures in six of her last season games.
She put up 20 points against Missouri State on 8-12 shooting which gave her a season-high in shooting percentage.
“I’m just playing my game, taking shots that I usually take,” Penn said.
A lot of what Penn and her teammates were able to do against Missouri State was score while driving to the basket. The team shot more than 60 percent from the field, but only attempted six three-point field goals on the afternoon.
“Part of the motion offense is that you are trying to get a piece of the paint, trying to draw two defenders, but before they can collapse, you either have to get rid of it or try to split that thing and get yourself all the way to the bucket,” Moren said.
IU will have 10 days off before returning to play in the Puerto Rico Classic.