IU women’s basketball looked to prove itself against Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon on its home court.
Despite a low scoring and close 15-12 end to the first quarter, IU defeated the Badgers 74-49 with help from reserve players, including senior guard Keyanna Warthen, freshman guard Chloe Moore-McNeil and freshman forward Kiandra Browne.
All three players were able to get minutes early on in the game after starters junior forward Aleksa Gulbe and junior guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary picked up two fouls in the first quarter.
Head coach Teri Moren assigned Warthen to defend Wisconsin’s leading scorer, sophomore guard Sydney Hilliard, who averages 19 points per game. Warthen’s defensive assignment came as a good faith decision, Moren said.
“Keyanna is an experienced guard here,” Moren said. “She has been asked to guard some of those opposing teams’ best perimeter players because we trust Keyanna, that she will do her best.”
Moren called Warthen’s ability to perform on fast breaks “the icing on the cake.” Warthen started her streak of fast breaks in the first quarter, breaking to the rim for an easy layup and bringing IU’s lead to 14-5 with under two minutes remaining in the period.
Senior guard Ali Patberg assisted another of Warthen’s fast break layups in the last seconds of the half, pushing the Hoosiers’ lead to 35-24 at halftime. The veteran guard added two more points from another fast break in the third quarter.
Warthen finished the game with six points, shooting 100% from the field.
“I have talked to Keyanna a lot, and Kiandra, about coming into the game with energy and effort and knowing what they come into the game to do,” Patberg said.
Browne also made her mark in the first half, when she contributed two rebounds and two points from made free throws, the extent of her contributions in the game.
If you were not present at the game, you did not hear Browne’s impact on the court, Moren said. Browne’s level of communication contributes to the team’s energy on the court, she said.
“It is so critically important that all five of those guys are working as one,” Moren said.
Adding to both Browne and Warthen’s contributions, Moore-McNeil was active at the beginning of the second quarter after she nailed a 3-pointer. Moore-McNeil accounted for four points, two rebounds and two assists in the game.
Moren sees great room for improvement in Moore-McNeil’s play, though she has confidence in the young player, she said.
“Chloe is also a freshman,” Moren said. “She has to learn that every possession matters. She has to learn how to be more physical when she is on the ball, and she will learn all those things.”
Both Moren and Patberg agree that players like Browne, Warthen and Moore-McNeil are key to the team’s future success.
“Coach says this a lot,” Patberg said. “But everyone matters for our team, and that’s the truth.”