Junior guard Ali Patberg's season-high 29 points led No. 24 IU women's basketball as it beat Minnesota 75-69 on Saturday at Williams Arena in the Twin Cities, completing IU's season sweep over Minnesota.
The Hoosiers got a win they desperately needed in a place that has historically given them trouble with the help of a huge night from Patberg.
It was the first season sweep of Minnesota since 2001 and just the 13th ever win for IU at Minnesota all time.
With Ohio State losing earlier in the day to Rutgers 59-57, IU gained a full game lead in the race to secure the final double bye in the Big Ten tournament, with just two games left in the regular season.
Patberg’s 29 points left her one shy of tying her career high, but she eclipsed her previous season-high 23 with 1:04 to go in the first half. Sophomore guard Grace Berger picked up where Patberg left off, scoring 14 of her 18 points in the second half to lead IU the rest of the way on offense.
The Hoosiers struggled at times to defend the Gophers 3-point shot and never led by more than nine points at any time in the game. IU did use its height advantage to control the rebound battle, grabbing 42 to Minnesota’s 29.
From the tip, it seemed like the Hoosiers and Gophers were bound for a high-scoring game. It also seemed like Patberg was determined to get her team the win all by herself if she had to.
Patberg scored eight points in eight minutes on the floor during the first quarter and erupted for 17 second-quarter points. Junior guard Jaelynn Penn was the only other Hoosier to score in the second with just one basket.
The Gophers were able to stay in the game in the half with the help freshman guard Jasmine Powell’s 15 points. Powell, averaging 19 points per game since joining the Gophers’ starting lineup Jan. 27, looked ready to go shot-for-shot with Patberg the whole night.
But that's not how it played out. The two point guards combined for just 10 points in the second half.
Minnesota senior guard Jasmine Brunson scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half. Freshman guard Sara Scalia hit two 3-pointers to tie the game in the third and give Minnesota a brief one-point lead in the fourth.
Berger led the way for the Hoosiers with 14 points in the second half. Senior forward Brenna Wise hit a clutch 3-pointer to give IU a five-point lead with three minutes to go, and Penn’s two free throws with 29 seconds remaining put the team up by seven.
Now 11-5 in the conference, the Hoosiers can clinch fourth place and a double bye in the Big Ten tournament by winning their final two games, regardless of the Buckeyes’ results.