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Maryland defense forces third straight loss for IU women’s basketball



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IU women’s basketball huddles up before their game Dec. 15 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. IU lost Jan. 20 on the road to Maryland 62-76. Claire Livingston

Sophomore guard Grace Berger received the ball off an inbound pass and was swarmed by white jerseys. There was nowhere to go — no open teammates and no Hoosiers rotating to the ball. 

Forced turnovers handed No. 17 IU women’s basketball a 76-62 loss Monday against No. 20 Maryland. This was IU’s third consecutive loss and its eighth straight to Maryland.

Berger and junior guard Ali Patberg were dominated by a full court press that forced bad passes and backcourt violations. When the Hoosiers managed to get the ball across the midcourt line, the possessions ended with contested shots or shot clock violations. 

The Terrapins posted two defenders on whichever Hoosier inbounded the ball and forced her into a corner. Whether it was Berger or Patberg, the Hoosiers were stranded and committed a handful of early turnovers that set up the Terrapins’ offense.

In the first half, only one of IU’s eight baskets came from an assist. Maryland, on the other hand, scored 14 points off IU turnovers.

Maryland opened the game on an 8-0 run and was led by sophomore forward Shakira Austin and senior forward Stephanie Jones. 

Austin towered over IU forwards and took over in the paint. She prevented second-chance opportunities and used her long arms to reach above the hands of IU defenders. The sophomore finished the night with 22 points.

Jones set high screens to free up her teammates for easy shots near the basket. The forward also took advantage of mismatches to post up on Hoosier guards, finishing with 12 points and six rebounds. 

In addition to its struggles to bring the ball up the floor, IU sunk just two shots in the second quarter. 

Patberg drew a foul and made a layup in the opening minute. Berger would make a jumper a few minutes later. The duo of Jones and Austin propelled Maryland ahead in the second quarter and kept IU from scoring further.

The story was much of the same for the Hoosiers in the second half. Turnovers plagued its offense, and the lockdown Terrapin defense in the paint kept the Hoosier forwards inactive. 

Sophomore guard Taylor Mikesell added Maryland’s lead with a strong performance from 3-point range. Mikesell shot 80% from behind the arc and finished with 16 points.

Berger managed to increase the tempo and break through the full court press in the second half. She knocked down jump shots in traffic and finished with 21 points. 

Freshman forward Mackenzie Holmes — the Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week — fouled out with eight points and six rebounds. She was double-teamed below the rim and kept silent by Maryland. 

Senior forward Brenna Wise was scoreless in her 14-minute start. Junior guard Bendu Yeaney and freshman forward Jorie Allen put up just two points apiece in their 15 and 16 minutes respectively. 

IU has now lost five games to top-25 teams this season. It will play its final game of a two-game road stand Thursday against Penn State.

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