The biggest question mark going into Monday night’s women's basketball game at No. 23 Michigan State is whether junior guard Ali Patberg will play.
According to IU Coach Teri Moren, Patberg dislocated her shoulder in the team’s last game against Minnesota. Her father, Rob Patberg, told The Republic, her hometown paper in Columbus, Indiana, and said there was no damage or cracks in her bone.
Patberg may not be healed enough to return Monday but could come back before the season ends. So, the question turns to how the 17-7 Hoosiers fare without their leading scorer against the 16-6 Spartans.
Here’s three things to know about IU’s matchup in East Lansing, Michigan.
1. IU already holds a win over Michigan State this season.
When the teams first met on Jan. 6 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, the Spartans were ranked No. 15 and IU had only lost once.
IU had a huge second quarter, outscoring Michigan State 22-12, which created a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. The dagger came with 47 seconds left as sophomore guard Jaelynn Penn nailed a 3-pointer to seal the game 68-64.
Penn scored 17 points in the win. Without Patberg, Penn might be the go-to scorer as she leads the team in scoring during conference games with 16.5 points per contest.
The victory stands as IU’s lone win over a ranked opponent this season.
2. The Spartans can play from the inside and out.
Senior center Jenna Allen, who is the older sister of IU’s class of 2023 commit Jorie Allen, is the Spartans' leading scorer with 14.5 points per game. Allen went 7-of-15 in the first meeting between the two teams and led her team with 15 points. She is the main focus of the Spartan offense, but the team also has talented guards on the perimeter.
Junior guard Shay Colley scores 13.8 points per game and has the ability to take defenders off the dribble. But sophomore guard Bendu Yeaney held her to just seven points earlier this season. Junior guard Taryn McCutcheon is a sharp shooter from the outside, making 44 percent of her 3-pointers this season. But, again, the Hoosiers contained her to just four points in the first game.
The Spartans have two other players that average double-digit scoring, so IU’s defense will again have to be tight to come away with the win on the road.
3. Grace Berger and Keyanna Warthen will be called upon.
Freshman guard Grace Berger has played solid minutes for IU this season. Berger is averaging 18 minutes per game and five points. Without Patberg, the freshman will become the starter and be responsible for handling the ball and hitting some timely shots.
As for sophomore guard Keyanna Warthen, her role has substantially increased as the season has progressed. Toward the ends of quarters, Moren usually substitutes Warthen in to get rest time for Patberg, Yeaney or Penn. Now Warthen might need to play more — and do more — in Patberg’s absence.
Both Warthen and Berger have shown flashes of attacking the basket and playing sound defense but have both been inconsistent at times.
The Hoosiers and Spartans tip off at 7 p.m. Monday.
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