Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

No. 9 IU women’s basketball enters Big Ten Tournament as 2 seed

spiuwbbpreview031021.jpg

After a historic regular season campaign with a program record 16 conference wins, No. 9 IU women’s basketball heads to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis for this week’s 2021 Big Ten Tournament. 

The Hoosiers, 18-4 overall and 16-2 in Big Ten play, are making their first-ever appearance as the conference tournament’s 2 seed. IU has two byes as a top-four seed, advancing to the quarterfinals at 6:30 p.m. Thursday when it will face the winner of Wednesday’s matchup between 10-seed Penn State and 7-seed Michigan State.

With some time off following Saturday’s 74-59 win over Purdue in its regular season finale, the team had a chance to catch its breath this week before picking up speed again in the postseason.

Related: [Patberg, Warthen say potential goodbye to Assembly Hall in 74-59 Senior Day win over Purdue]

Junior guard Grace Berger and sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes highlighted IU’s conference award haul Monday with All-Big Ten first team selections, but they said they’re more focused on what lies ahead this weekend in Indianapolis. 

“These accolades come at a time where I’m very focused on winning games,” Holmes said. “Right now, preparing for the Big Ten Tournament is my first priority.”

The Hoosiers will play three games in as many days should they make a run to the championship game, something Berger said is difficult no matter how much rest you have leading up to it. 

IU swept Penn State and beat Michigan State once this season, winning all three games by a combined 58 points. Thursday, however, the Hoosiers expect whichever team they face to give them their best shot with their season on the line.

The tournament semifinals presents a potential matchup with 3-seed Rutgers, the only conference opponent IU is yet to play this season. The Scarlet Knights, 14-3 overall and 10-3 in Big Ten play, have won nine consecutive games since returning from a monthlong COVID-19 pause Feb. 7. 

Head coach Teri Moren said nothing will come easy this week in Indianapolis but that having players like Berger and senior guard Ali Patberg who’ve played the tournament before is all she can ask for.

“I have a tremendous amount of peace in knowing those two with their supporting cast ... they’re going to be focused and they’re going to be dialed in to what we have to do to win and make a deep run,” Moren said. “Mentally, you’ve gotta lean on your experience.”

IU was in a similar position one year ago before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic put an early end to its season. Despite there never being any closure, Moren said their excitement for the postseason today is no different that it was one year ago. 

“We’re just never taking a moment for granted again,” Berger said. “We were so excited to have the chance that we never got last year to make a run, and so I think that’s just kind of been building up since this time last year through the offseason.”

Get stories like this in your inbox
Subscribe