After an 11-day break from play, IU women’s basketball ended their non-conference schedule with their second straight loss, 66-58 to the University of Tennessee Thursday night.
The Hoosiers immediately struggled with sinking shots allowing the Volunteers to hold the lead the entire game. IU made just two of 27 3-point attempts and shot 32% from the field.
The Hoosiers were held to single digits in the first quarter, shooting just 22% to open the game. The Volunteers came out hot, shooting 42% as they held a 17-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“We had a difficult time tonight finding the basket,” head coach Teri Moren said. “I thought in the first half when they weren’t going down, mentally that made us hesitate a little more, and that can’t be the case. You have to believe the next one is going in.”
Despite a rough start, freshman forward Kiandra Browne took to the court where she scored her first points as a Hoosier after making a layup and converting on the and-1.
Despite Browne’s spark, the Hoosiers couldn’t heat up as freshman guard Chloe Moore-McNeil and senior guard Ali Patberg both missed 3-pointers on the subsequent possessions.
“We just couldn’t seem to get it in,” senior guard Jaelynn Penn said. “We tried to attack. We tried to draw some fouls because we were struggling outside the arc. We struggled offensively. It is frustrating the run that we had.”
Patberg and Penn paced the Hoosiers in the first half, with Patberg scoring a team-high of 11 points and Penn securing a team-high of four rebounds. Despite these efforts, IU lagged 34-24 at the end of the half.
In the second half, Penn started to find a rhythm on offense as she tried to lead IU out of its offensive woes. At the end of the third quarter, Penn swiped a steal and finished on the other end with a layup to cut the Volunteer lead to six.
Penn carried her energy into the last quarter and found another steal giving her a team-high five steals in the game.
Despite Penn’s effort, the closest IU was able to come was within one point after she and sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes made layups early in the quarter. After that, the Hoosiers' offense went dormant down the stretch, including a three-minute drought without a made basket, before ultimately falling to the Volunteers.
After the game, Moren was upset that her veteran team was not able to perform better. She said that while her team along with herself and her staff are not living up to their name thus far, she has confidence in the team to find their groove.
“Sooner or later we are going to find the bottom of that net,” Moren said. “There is no question. You have to believe in the work that you do.”