Away from the celebration on the court following IU’s 75-73 victory over No. 10 Iowa, sophomore guard Bendu Yeaney sat quietly on a chair inside the tunnel at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
Fans were on the court, trying to get autographs from the players. Yeaney sat away from it, taking in the victory until junior forward Brenna Wise came running into the tunnel to confront her teammate.
“Let’s go Bendu,” Wise screamed to her teammate.
“Ice water in the veins,” Yeaney said as she pointed her left arm to her right forearm vein, talking about her clutch performance.
Minutes before Yeaney sat in the tunnel, she found herself in a similar situation, sitting. Though this time she was on the bench.
IU Coach Teri Moren subbed Yeaney out of the game with 7:05 left to go in the fourth quarter as she was just 1-6 from the field with two points and a plus/minus of minus 20.
Yeaney's team was down three, and all she could do was watch. She wasn’t sitting quietly this time, though, as every basket the Hoosiers hit Yeaney was up and excited as her team slowly came back from a 16-point deficit.
With 59 seconds left, IU up 70-67, Yeaney reentered the game. Thirty-eight seconds ticked by and IU made three of four free throws while Iowa strung together six quick points — one and-one and one 3-pointer — to tie the game at 73.
Moren elected not to call a timeout, and the Hoosiers played out the final possession. Yeaney found herself with the ball in her hands on the left wing. She drove right, across the line, and put up a little floater that sunk through the bottom of the net.
Ice water in the veins.
The crowd erupted as the Hoosiers took a 75-73 lead with 3.8 seconds left. Yeaney, expressionless while her teammates rushed to her as Iowa called a timeout, knew the game wasn’t over.
“I didn’t want to show too much emotion because I knew we had to get a stop,” Yeaney said. “I always want to fight until the triple zeroes go on the clock.”
Iowa inbounded the ball and tried to dish it to senior forward Megan Gustafson, who finished with 26 points, down in the paint. But the Hoosiers denied it, so Iowa senior guard Tania Davis decided to go for a step-back 3-pointer, which could have won the game until Yeaney rose up and blocked the shot.
Ice water in the veins.
This time, when the triple zeroes hit the clock and the win was official, Yeaney showed plenty of emotion as she embraced her teammates and pumped her arms.
This was IU’s first win against a top-10 opponent since Jan. 31, 2010. This victory also marked Moren's 100th win at IU, but all she could talk about after the game was her players.
“Benny has been in so many of those moments for us,” Moren said. “I didn’t even bat an eye. Even though she had shot it poorly, I wanted her to make a play or I wanted her to make a decision.”
It was these game-closing plays the Hoosiers have been lacking after being so successful finishing games at the beginning of the season.
Another big boost for IU came in the form of IU’s returning junior guard Ali Patberg, who has missed the last four games with a shoulder injury.
Patberg didn’t miss a beat as she shot 7-of-13 from the field and nailed 6-of-8 3-pointers to finish the game with 21 points.
“You can tell we’re a different team when she’s out there,” Moren said.
Patberg was emotional all night long, fist pumping after baskets, hyping up the crowd and chest bumping her teammates. In terms of how her shoulder feels?
“It feels great,” Patberg said. “Never been better.”
At the beginning of the game, Patberg seemed like one of the few Hoosiers who could hit shots as Iowa hit six 3-pointers in the first quarter. The Hawkeyes led by eight after the first quarter and eventually doubled that lead in the third quarter.
It seemed like the Hoosiers were on the brink of losing their fifth straight until IU switched to a 2-3 zone and its shots began to fall.
Patberg got hot from outside, and junior forward Brenna Wise hit key shots as IU closed the third quarter on a 13-1 run and went to the fourth trailing 54-51.
“We just stayed confident,” Patberg said. “We weren’t going to give up.”
Iowa didn’t hit another 3-pointer until the game tying shot with 22 seconds to go, finishing 7-of-21 from deep after staring 6-of-8. Moren attributed that to the zone defense her team switched to.
The win snapped the Hoosiers four-game losing streak, as the team improved to 18-10 overall and 7-9 in the Big Ten.
Thursday night ended the cold shooting for the Hoosiers, just ice water in their veins.
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