The crowd at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall erupted Sunday after freshman forward Mackenzie Holmes’ layup put No. 20 IU women’s basketball ahead by 10. Ohio State could not stop IU and called a timeout less than a minute into the fourth.
A few minutes later, it was IU head coach Teri Moren calling a timeout. Assembly Hall was quiet. IU’s offense had been shut down, and its defense collapsed.
The Buckeyes knocked off the Hoosiers 80-76 after a 31-point fourth quarter. The Hoosiers stopped hitting field goals and the Buckeyes took full advantage.
“We lost because of our defense down the stretch,” junior guard Ali Patberg said.
Prior to the scoring drought and defensive woes, IU’s offense was scoring near the basket and drawing fouls for free throw opportunities.
Patberg was leading all scorers with 16 points and had five of the team’s nine assists. She drove to the basket for tough finishes at the rim and used jump shots from the right side to keep IU ahead. The junior finished the day with 22 points.
Sophomore forward Aleksa Gulbe and junior guard Jaelynn Penn each added 14 points. Gulbe drew fouls below the basket and earned multiple opportunities to hit free throws at the line. Penn pulled in eight rebounds, collected two steals and hit her free throws as well.
However, Penn and her teammates could not score or cover defenders on the other side of the Ohio State timeout. IU players missed open layups and 3-pointers, got into foul trouble and allowed Ohio State to climb back into the game.
“We’re getting good shots, we’re not hitting shots,” Moren said. “We’re not knocking them down when they matter the most.”
The Buckeyes were led by freshman guards Jacy Sheldon and Madison Greene. The duo combined for 23 points and took over the game in the closing quarter.
Sheldon ran by the IU guards and scored open layups. Greene scored 14 points in the quarter, hitting two 3-pointers and a clutch jump shot with seven seconds left that put her team out of reach.
Ohio State forwards took advantage of second-chance shots under the rim and sent guards through to catch bounce passes and finish layups. Ohio State also thrived on points in transition by sending guards back early and outnumbering IU’s defenders.
After sophomore guard Grace Berger hit a needed jump shot, Sheldon ran back, caught a pass on the left side of the basket and made it a two possession game with just 1:12 remaining.
“Defense let us down today, there’s no question,” Moren said. “Ohio State is a team that wants to get the ball up the floor quickly, and there’s no defense for that run-out layup.”
In the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes shot nearly 80% from the floor while the Hoosiers hit just 36% of their shots. Free throws contributed to more than half of the Hoosiers’ points, but missed layups and other shooting struggles from the likes of Berger, Penn, and senior forward Brenna Wise made it difficult to keep pace with the Buckeyes.
“They’re not trying to miss, it’s just that they are,” Moren said. “We’re having a hard time finding the bucket right now.”
Despite having four starters in double figures, the IU bench was silent in comparison to Ohio State’s. Holmes played just under 16 minutes off the bench while the remaining players on the roster played between two and six minutes.
Alternatively, Ohio State’s bench scored more than double IU’s. Its players hit open 3s and took advantage of the IU defense to win the game.