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IU women’s basketball sneaks past UCLA



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Sophomore guard Jaelynn Penn drives to the basket as a defender grabs her waist during the Milwaukee game Nov. 7 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Penn scored 17 points against UCLA on Dec. 2 to lead IU to a 67-65 win. Alexis Oser Buy Photos

Sophomore guard Jaelynn Penn’s final four points Sunday at UCLA were her most important in leading IU women’s basketball to a 67-65 win.

Down two with 29 seconds left, junior guard Ali Patberg found Penn who rose up and hit a three to put IU in front 65-64.

"The shot that Coach Rhet drew up for Jaelynn to stick was excellent, just as far as our execution was excellent," IU Coach Teri Moren said. "Great players make great plays."

After the team’s exchanged free throws, Penn hit a free throw of her own to put IU up 67-65. With just more than a second remaining, Penn missed her second free, but with no timeouts remaining UCLA had no chance of pulling off a last-second comeback.

The final four points were part of Penn’s 17 as IU improved its record to 7-0. This is the best start for IU since 2013-14 when the team went 14-0. 

Patberg joined Penn as the team’s leading scorer with 17 points to go along with nine rebounds and eight assists. Sophomore Bendu Yeaney was the only other Hoosiers scoring in double digits with 13 points, seven of which came in the second quarter.

Freshman Aleksa Gulbe has provided a strong presence inside for IU early in the season and was impressive on defense during the fourth quarter. She picked up three blocks in the quarter with two coming in the final five minutes, but she fouled out less than two minutes after her final block. 

Despite seven blocks as a team, IU struggled against UCLA inside and lost the rebounding battle 46-36. A large reason the Bruins were able to stay close despite shooting 3-19 from three is because of the 21 offensive rebounds they had.  

IU dominated UCLA at the free throw line, shooting 18-23 while UCLA went 6-8.

Senior guard Kennedy Burke had a pair of free throws with a chance to tie the game for UCLA with five seconds left. She missed the second shot, but an offensive rebound by senior forward Lajahna Drummer gave UCLA a new hope.

But just as that hope came about, a travel was called on Drummer, which then lead to the Penn free throw that all but sealed the win for IU. 

"I love the fight out of this group," Moren said. "I'm really proud of the toughness, the resilience that we showed."

The win was also IU’s third road win, but the first in a road environment of more than 819 fans. The 3,511 fans at Pauley Pavilion were the most IU has seen in a game — home or away.

The loss for UCLA is just the fourth at home since the start of the 2015-16 season.

"We needed to be challenged on the road because we know there's going to be challenges in the Big Ten," Moren said. "This is a great road win for us."

IU’s next game will be at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Butler.

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