No. 15 IU women’s basketball fought its way to a 90-65 win over Penn State on Wednesday at Assembly Hall after being down at the half. An aggressive fourth quarter on both ends rounded out the substantial win for the Hoosiers.
Senior guard Ali Patberg began the game for the Hoosiers with an open drive to the basket and later sank the first 3-pointer of the game, giving the Hoosiers a 5-4 lead early in the game. Jumpers from both Patberg and junior guard Grace Berger along with a layup from sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes gave IU a 6-0 run for three and half minutes of play.
“My only message to AP is I want her to be aggressive,” head coach Teri Moren said in a post-game press conference. “I want her thinking ‘score.’ I want her thinking if she is open. Not even to think about her shot.”
Holmes later had a blocked layup, but senior guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary avenged the block with a steal and drew an and-1 on a fast break layup, keeping IU’s lead at 18-15. But Penn State finished off the quarter with a buzzer beating 3-pointer, shortening IU’s lead to 20-22.
“Give Penn State credit,” Moren said. “They are playing with energy. They are a confident team right now and they want to play fast.”
The score was later tied at 32 after a 3-pointer from Penn State senior guard Niya Beverley and a long jumper from Penn State freshman guard Maddie Burke. Later in the quarter, senior guard Keyanna Warthen made her first points of the game with a 3-pointer of her own, but a late two-minute scoring drought for the Hoosiers had them down one at halftime.
Penn State’s halftime leading scorer sophomore forward Anna Camden rounded out the half with a jumper, giving them the 40-39 lead. The Lady Lions shot 50% from the field, and the Hoosiers shot an almost even 49%. Holmes led IU in scoring with 10 points.
The Hoosier’s frustration about the way the half ended pushed the team to perform in the second half.
“We pride ourselves on defense, so I think anytime someone is shooting over 50% from the field in the half, we take that personally,” Berger said “We know we can control our defense, so it really was about us sitting down and guarding our man one-on-one.”
Despite letting Penn State finish off the half, the Hoosiers came out in the third quarter with a 12-0 run to extend their lead to 51-40. Cardaño-Hillary and junior forward Aleksa Gulbe were the main agents for the run after they both sank 3-pointers.
After a Penn State turnover, Cardaño-Hillary went on to sink another 3-pointer to bring the score to 65-51 at the end of the third quarter.
The Hoosiers ended the game out-scoring and out-rebounding the Lady Lions down low. IU attacked the board with frequent drives to the basket and multiple putbacks. In the fourth quarter alone, IU accounted for 16 rebounds while Penn State only had five. These last quarter efforts brought the Hoosiers to a 90-65 win over the Lady Lions.
Four out of five starters racked up double digit points. Holmes led with 25 points and Berger followed with 17 points, contributing to her third triple-double with 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Berger made her second triple-double in IU’s previous meeting against Penn State. Patberg added 16 points and Gulbe had 15 points.
Berger’s last two assists and Holmes’ last two layups gave Berger those two more stats that she needed for her triple-double accomplishment.
“I was aware that she needed two more assists to get to a triple double,” Holmes said. “I wasn't really feeling the pressure because I know Grace is confident in me and she knows that I can make those shots.”