Indiana Daily Student

Perimeter shooting helps No. 14 IU women’s basketball knock down No. 11 Michigan

Senior guard Ali Patberg follows through her shot Thursday in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. No. 14 IU defeated No. 11 Michigan 70-65, led by Patberg's team-high 21 points.
Senior guard Ali Patberg follows through her shot Thursday in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. No. 14 IU defeated No. 11 Michigan 70-65, led by Patberg's team-high 21 points.

Exhausted faces and angry shouts from the stands created a tense energy in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall during Thursday night’s matchup between No. 14 IU women’s basketball and No. 11 Michigan, which IU won 70-65. 

The demand for physicality in this top 15 matchup was present even before the clock started in the first quarter. The Hoosiers knew aggressiveness was going to be key in keeping it close with a tough Michigan team, head coach Teri Moren said. 

“Those kids in my locker room deserve just as much credit as we give Michigan with their physicality because you have to show up and you have to be willing to go toe-to-toe with a team like Michigan,” Moren said. “And if you don’t, you’ll end up on the other side. So our kids got the message in the last two days when we were preparing for Michigan.”

Much of the physical toughness came down low as Michigan’s forwards beat down on IU sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes. Holmes struggled to find any freedom in the post,constantly surrounded by two or three Michigan defenders, which left open IU shooters on the perimeter.

Related: [IU men’s basketball finds confidence on offense in all-around team win over Minnesota]

“They were willing to risk it all to have it all tonight just by leaving some of our players on the outside,” Moren said about Michigan’s post-defensive decisions. 

Holmes, who is usually IU’s leading scorer, only put up 6 points, with 2 of those coming from free throws. 

Not only was the shooting down low a struggle, but rebounding was another concern from the start. In the first quarter, the Hoosiers were outrebounded 14-4 by the Wolverines, and that narrative stuck for the entire game. IU had a total of 28 rebounds while Michigan accounted for 42. 

Seeing such difficulty with scoring and rebounding in the post, the Hoosiers relied on their perimeter play to keep them in the running.   

“We went in believing we had to outrebound them to win the game,” Moren said. “Sometimes that doesn't hold true, especially when you can make shots. It was nice to see our three-ball go in.” 

Unlike any game this season, IU’s 3-point shooting percentage was higher than its field goal shooting percentage. IU shot 67% from 3-point range in the second quarter, the highest of its  game. At halftime, IU beat its field goal shooting by 10 percentage points with 43% from the field and 53% from beyond the arc. By the end of the game, IU made 50% of its 3-pointers and only 37% of its field goals. 

Senior guard Ali Patberg said everyone on the team has been spending extra time in the gym.

“Coach just kept telling us to continue to do the work, and that's what we have been doing,” Patberg said. “Being confident within our offense with where our looks are and stepping up and hitting them.” 

Patberg and junior forward Aleska Gulbe both sank three 3-pointers in the game, and freshman guard Chloe Moore-McNeil made two 3-pointers in a row in the second quarter.

“Chloe comes in as our little freshman tonight and makes two big threes back to back for us,” Moren said. “It just takes confidence, and I love the confidence that she has. She hasn’t shot it well, but she has in practice, so we knew it was just a matter of time.” 

Senior guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary added one 3-pointer as well, making it a total of nine for the game. 

For a team which usually averages 30% from beyond the arc, IU’s perimeter play was unusual, but necessary when easy layups and drives to the basket were constantly shut down by Michigan.

“I don’t think it was the best game we have ever had,” Patberg said. “But we fought hard. We battled to the end, and I think we wanted it more.”

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