It seemed like the worst combination that IU women’s basketball could have faced.
Averaging nearly 16 turnovers per game heading into Thursday’s matchup at Ohio State, the last thing IU needed was to face a guard with active hands on the defensive end.
But the Hoosiers got just that in Buckeye graduate guard Carmen Grande. Led by Grande, Ohio State forced IU into turning the ball over 19 times. The Hoosiers also struggled to get the offense rolling all game.
Turnovers have plagued IU all season, but the team has been able to pull away in most cases. Usually, IU is able to find its groove in the latter parts of a game, as was the case against then-No. 15 Michigan State on Sunday.
The Hoosiers turned the ball over seven times against the Spartans in the first quarter but then only seven times the rest of the game.
Against Ohio State, it was a much different story. IU only had one turnover in the opening quarter, where the team outscored its opponent 14-5. But the Hoosiers went on to turn it over five, five and eight times in the remaining quarters, respectively.
Grande was in charge of wreaking defensive havoc on IU, as she picked up five steals. But even that does not tell the whole story.
Numerous times she deflected the ball without necessarily causing a turnover. Down 53-50 with less than 30 seconds remaining, IU drew up a play to give sophomore guard Jaelynn Penn a chance to tie the game from the corner.
Sophomore guard Bendu Yeaney looked to inbound it. She could not find anyone open, so she called a timeout.
They ran it back. This time, Yeaney thought she had an open player in junior guard Ali Patberg, but Grande deflected the inbound pass into the backcourt. Luckily for IU, Patberg raced back to get it before Grande could pick up the steal.
But the possession was not over, as Grande deflected yet another pass seconds later. Again, IU got control before it was a steal.
IU played its dangerous game with turnovers getting in the way but almost bailed itself out again.
As the possession continued, the ball fell into the hands of Penn for a three. The shot didn’t fall, and the sloppy play officially caught up to the Hoosiers.
Behind 19 turnovers and careless ball handling, No. 25 IU lost its first game since being ranked in the Associated Press poll. At 14-2 overall and 3-1 in the Big Ten, IU will be back in action Sunday at Wisconsin.
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