It would be hard to overstate just how much the 79-69 loss hurt for No. 18 IU women’s basketball at the hands of No. 13 Maryland.
Nevermind that it meant the end of a four-game win streak for the Hoosiers.
A win would’ve been the first ever for the Hoosiers over the Terrapins in nine tries.A win would’ve helped IU’s case for cracking the Top 16 in the NCAA tournament, guaranteeing a home game for the first two games in the tournament. A win would’ve helped in the race for a Big Ten Title.
So where exactly did IU go wrong las night? Looking at the shooting percentage, IU shot 50% the entire night, which is high even next to Maryland’s 51%.
“We made the extra pass, and we hit shots,” junior guard Ali Patberg said. “We got what we practiced on offensively.”
The last time these two teams played, the Terrapins won 76-62 in College Park, Maryland. The Hoosiers had just two players crack double digits. Tonight they had four.
Patberg led the way with 16, while fellow guards Jaelynn Penn and Grace Berger had 13 and 12 points respectively. Freshman forward Mackenzie Holmes chipped in a dozen off the bench.
Senior forward Brenna Wise, who didn't score in the first contest, added in nine points and four boards during 33 minutes of continued strong play over her last few games.
The game changed dramatically in the third quarter. Maryland capitalized on six turnovers to turn a six-point deficit into a 10-point lead.
“They switched it up on us defensively,” head coach Teri Moren said. “We were pretty stagnant against the zone. It felt like the turnovers came at critical moments and always led to runouts.”
In hindsight, there was more than just one quarter that caused IU problems. Really it was a litany of things.
Most notably, IU missed too many free throws on its way to shooting 62% from the line, inexcusable on a night when every point was valuable.
Maryland’s attention to detail showed quite plainly. The Terrapins outscored the Hoosiers on points off turnovers, points off fast breaks, second-chance points and bench points.
“Second-chance points is a big deal,” Wise said. “They had 13 second-chance points, and scored 14 points on our turnovers. That's where that hurts.”
The bench and fast-break point differentials were the most varied since Maryland outscored IU on the run 22-7 and with reserves 28-14. Take Holmes out of the equation, and IU had just two points off the bench.
Freshman forward Jorie Allen contributed the only other IU points from outside the starting lineup. Junior guard Keyanna Warthen didn’t take a shot in seven minutes, and freshman guard Chanel Wilson didn’t play a second.
“We’ve got to figure out how we can get the Chanels and the Keyannas to feel confident,” Moren said. “Right now, our challenge is that. It's those kids really stepping up and being better in those moments.”
This loss makes their chances for a Big Ten title and NCAA tournament home seeding quite uncertain, as IU falls squarely into fourth place in the Big Ten at 8-4 with six games on the schedule.
IU still has a chance for things to work in its favor, but a lot of little adjustments will have to happen to get the postseason set up it wants. At least a lot more than tonight.
“Small details always make a big difference,” Wise said. “Especially in our program.”