IU women’s basketball took the court Monday without its leading scorer junior guard Ali Patberg for the first time this season and it showed. Without Patberg, IU struggled to find its usual up-tempo offense and fell at No. 24 Michigan State 77-61.
“It’s different playing without Ali Patberg,” IU Coach Teri Moren said. “It was different for us tonight, just trying to get into any kind of flow.”
Freshman guard Grace Berger got the start in Patberg’s place and came out strong to start the game. Berger scored 10 points, all of which came in the first half, along with four rebounds and four assists.
She was forced to take much of the load at guard in the first half with sophomore guards Jaelynn Penn and Bendu Yeaney battling foul trouble.
But even with the unusual lineup, IU was able to stay in the game. At the half, the Hoosiers trailed 33-30.
In the third quarter, the Hoosiers got off to a strong start again capped off by a 3-pointer from junior forward Brenna Wise. Her shot gave IU a one-point lead, but just as Michigan State did all game, it came back with a run.
Following Wise’s shot, the Spartans went on a 7-0 run and eventually had a nine-point lead about midway through the third. And each time IU would chip away at the lead, another run would put the game out of reach.
“Just allowed too many run outs, too many fastbreak points,” Moren said.
Michigan State’s starting forward Sidney Cooks and center Jenna Allen only combined for eight points and 11 rebounds, but it was the guards that lit up IU.
Led by a 32-point performance from guard Shay Colley, Michigan State scored its highest point total in a game since scoring 77 points Jan. 27 at Michigan.
“Perimeter players, they struggled tonight guarding off the bounce,” Moren said. “Disappointed, but we’re gonna have to go back and try to figure some things out. But it starts with us defensively.”
IU’s next game will be in Ann Arbor, Michigan, against a 16-9 Wolverine squad at 7 p.m. Thursday.
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