Indiana women’s basketball had another blowout win, defeating Samford University 71-26 on Thursday night. Samford’s 26 points ties the record for fewest points scored against IU since Nov. 27, 2004, when IU defeated Belmont 56-26.
The Hoosiers defense never faltered, shutting down the Bulldogs’ scoring chances throughout the game. IU tallied a total of 30 defensive rebounds with junior forward Aleksa Gulbe, junior guard Danielle Patterson and senior guard Jaelynn Penn all tying for a team-high with six defensive rebounds in the game.
“She was tremendous on defense,” head coach Teri Moren said of Penn. “That takes a lot of effort, hustle and heart to get out there and have to guard and chase that kid around as much as she had to do tonight.”
Defensively, IU swiped 14 steals, with senior guard Ali Patberg accounting for five of the takeaways.
While defensively strong, both Moren and the team were frustrated by some of the team’s offensive struggles despite four of its five starters reaching double-digit points. Sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes and junior guard Grace Berger tied for a game-high 13 points.
Moren was unimpressed with the Hoosiers’ 15 turnovers, the early foul trouble that seated Holmes and their eight missed free throws as the team went 10-18 from the free-throw line.
Even though the offense was not what the Hoosiers had hoped for, their defense allowed them to gradually grow the lead on the back of two big scoring runs of 14-0 and 18-0 in the first half.
“I think we played really, really well defensively and that's really exciting because we are going to have off nights offensively,” Patberg said. “But if we can rely on our defense that is going to be huge.”
Both Moren and Patberg said they are confident in upping the team's offensive game with more practice.
Leading by 32 early in the third quarter, Moren was able to play freshman guard Chloe Moore-McNeil who drew an and-one almost immediately after stepping onto the court. McNeil came out of the game with seven points and four defensive rebounds.
“It was great to see her look more comfortable,” Moren said about McNeil. “I thought the other night against Eastern Kentucky she looked like a freshman. Tonight she looked way more comfortable. I liked her aggression towards the basket. She is a kid that will get better with each game.”
Going into the weekend, the Hoosiers will face No. 11 Kentucky at 4 p.m. Sunday, where Moren said she hopes her team can execute on a much higher level offensively, but is nonetheless excited for the challenge that the Wildcats bring.