IU women’s basketball will head back home with its first road win after defeating the University of Minnesota by 21 points Wednesday afternoon.
The Hoosiers’ play fired on all cylinders as they shot 46% from the field, went 14-15 on the free-throw line and forced 18 turnovers from the Gophers.
“Wins are always incredibly difficult to get,” head coach Teri Moren said. “But road wins are a different kind of challenge. I am really happy and pleased with the way we played this afternoon against a good Minnesota team.”
Senior guard Jaelynn Penn started off with a bang when she sank a 3-pointer within the first few seconds of play. Both teams came out hungry in the first quarter and tied the game at 13 with less than two minutes to go after IU forced a five-second violation against Minnesota.
The Gophers ended up with a one point lead at the end of the quarter after junior guard Danielle Patterson drew a shot clock violation and turned the ball over to Minnesota. Minnesota freshman guard Alexia Smith finished the quarter with a buzzer beater 3-pointer to give the Gophers the advantage at 16-15.
After ending the first quarter on a sour note, IU bounced back and held the lead for the remainder of the game.
“We were definitely upset that we let that happen,” Penn said. “It added some fuel, so we came back out and played good defense.”
The Hoosiers came into the second quarter pushing the pace and forcing Minnesota to 10 turnovers. With just over two minutes to go, junior guard Grace Berger secured a 14-point lead for the Hoosiers after sinking a 3-pointer. Berger was the top scorer at the half with 11 points and five rebounds. IU led 36-25 by the end of the half.
IU continued to force turnovers after the half, plaguing Minnesota with six turnovers in the third quarter alone. Penn forced a Minnesota turnover herself after she stole an inbound pass and drew an and-1 at the basket, making her efforts a three point play. Penn proved to Minnesota that her past issues with plantar fasciitis are long behind her.
“I feel amazing,” Penn said. “My defense improved drastically just because I am able to move around on the court without pain. The biggest thing defensively is having confidence one-on-one.”
Starting the fourth quarter the same way she started the game, Penn sunk another 3-pointer right off the bat. Penn went 4-8 for 3-pointers.
Junior guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary made her first points of the game after drawing an and-1 making the score 61-41 with just under eight minutes left of play. Moren felt confident enough with the Hoosiers’ lead to allow younger players like sophomore guards Chanel Wilson and Grace Waggoner to see play time. Wilson accounted for two points and one rebound while Waggoner added two blocks.
The Hoosiers closed out the game with a 75-54 win over Minnesota. Penn and sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes led IU in scoring, both with 19 points. Penn and Holmes were two of four starters to score double digits. Junior forward Aleksa Gulbe added 11 points and Berger had 13 points.
Overall, Moren was impressed with her team's unselfish play which gave the Hoosiers 22 assists in the game.
“We are a much better basketball team when we share the ball,” Moren said. “We have five guys out there that touch it and pass up the good shot for a great shot.”