After an uncharacteristically slow start to her Big Ten play, senior guard Ali Patberg has broken out of an offensive rut in tonight’s game against Penn State.
Patberg contributed 24 points in No.19 IU’s 85-64 win over Penn State on Thursday night in University Park, Pennsylvania. Patberg was three points behind the IU leading scorer, sophomore guard Mackenzie Holmes, who accounted for 27 points.
Patberg had a strong offensive game from the start after she gave the Hoosiers their first points of the game by sinking a 3-pointer, contributing to a 7-2 run early in the game. Patberg accounted for seven points in the first quarter alone after going 3-4 from the field and 1-2 for 3-pointers.
“I came in, and I was focused on playing like I know how and playing the game I love. Playing free, not hesitating and overthinking anything,” Patberg said. “Tonight was a lot of fun.”
By the end of the half, Patberg led IU with 13 points making 6-8 field goals.
Patberg carried her offensive energy into the third quarter and continued to be aggressive from deep, sinking two 3-pointers in a row. Both shots came off assists from junior guard Grace Berger.
“I always come into the game trying to make plays for my teammates,” Berger said. “Early on I wasn’t hitting shots, so my mindset transitioned to getting Ali, who was hot, shots.”
With help from Berger, Patberg shot 77% from the field and 60% for 3-pointers.
Patberg’s strong offensive play comes after three games where she struggled to find the basket. In her game against Minnesota, over two weeks ago, Patberg went 3-8 from the field, contributing only six points.
Patberg shot 50% from the field against Illinois a few days later, accounting for 11 points. In the Hoosiers’ game against Maryland on Monday, Patberg went 2-7 from the field and 1-5 for 3-pointers.
The veteran guard came up with nine points in Maryland’s game, two points more than the seven points she scored in the first quarter alone during tonight's game against Penn State.
Head coach Teri Moren pushed Patberg to produce more on the court against Penn State. During halftime Moren encouraged Patberg to show more aggressiveness in the second half, and it paid off.
“I thought we got that straightened out,” Moren said. “In the second half she came out and had a few really good looks that she buried. I am really happy with the way she responded especially after Monday night because I thought she was pretty quiet. We needed her to show more leadership, but also to score and be aggressive tonight offensively.”