No.11 IU women’s basketball defeated the No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes 87-75 for the first time since 2010 after outscoring them by 17 points in the fourth quarter.
“It was a terrific win for our program and one we obviously had to fight really hard for,” head coach Teri Moren said. “Give our kids credit for just being gritty and grinding it out on a day that we were not, I would say by any stretch of the means, having great flow offensively.”
Two free throws from junior forward Aleksa Gulbe put IU on the board in the first quarter, but a slew of turnovers from both teams kept it a low-scoring first minutes of play. Ohio State had back-to-back turnovers, but IU failed to score off either of them.
Senior guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary dove on the ground after she forced a turnover from Ohio State sophomore guard Jacy Sheldon, leading to a no-look pass under the basket from senior guard Ali Patberg to junior guard Grace Berger who finished the play with a layup.
“She is super competitive,” Patberg said about Cardaño-Hillary. “I mean she had eleven rebounds and she is 5’6.’’ So that just shows you her heart, her toughness and will to win.”
Intense defense from IU forced eight Ohio State turnovers in the first quarter, while IU had three. The Hoosiers led 18-12 by the end of the period.
The second quarter began with an IU scoring drought for nearly three minutes, but scoring picked up again with Cardaño-Hillary sinking the first 3-pointer of the game for IU, starting a 7-0 run. Berger contributed two jumpers to the Hoosiers’ run, pushing its lead to 39-30.
However, it was Sheldon who ended the half by launching a buzzer-beater 3-pointer nearly from half court. IU still led by 3 points at halftime, 39-36.
IU came out of halftime on a 6-0 run, but Ohio State would steal back the lead, something all too familiar to IU, which allowed Ohio State to creep back in its last matchup in January. Patberg said she and her team were expecting to see a run from Ohio State, so their third quarter efforts were no surprise.
Patberg, a 74% free-throw shooter, missed all three of her free throws after being fouled on a shot behind the arc. With IU’s lead diminishing, Ohio State senior guard Braxtin Miller and freshman guard Kateri Poole brought the fight back for their team without Sheldon, who was benched with four fouls. Miller gave the Buckeyes a 51-49 lead after a 3-pointer, their first lead since the first quarter, and Poole followed with another 3-pointer.
“We weren’t getting stops, so we weren't able to push it in transition and get our transition looks that we normally do,” Patberg said.
After outscoring IU 20-12 in the third quarter, Ohio State led 56-51.
Miller carried her fire into the last quarter by sinking another 3-pointer, but Cardaño-Hillary answered with her own. Patberg charged to the basket during a fast break and drew an and-1. After Patberg completed the 3-point play, the Buckeyes’ lead shrank to 63-60.
As Sheldon fouled out for the Buckeyes, the Hoosiers claimed the lead back with a jumper from Gulbe and another 3-pointer from Cardaño-Hillary. A technical foul on Poole gave Gulbe a chance at the free-throw line where she extended IU’s lead to 78-70.
“Of course Lex hits that pull up jumper right there in the middle of the paint which was huge, and then Nikki could not have had a more timely three to give us a little more breathing room,” Moren said. “I just think it says a lot about those kids.”
With one minute remaining in the game, Cardaño-Hillary fouled out after completing a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, but the Hoosiers held on and ended the Buckeyes 11-year winning streak against them in an 87-75 win.
“Even though it wasn’t our best basketball today, it was enough,” Moren said. “It was gritty enough and tough enough that we figured out how to win.”