After an early scare and yet another slow start, No. 4 Indiana women’s basketball defeated Quinnipiac University 67-59 Saturday afternoon in Hamden, Connecticut.
The Bobcats played the Hoosiers the closest anyone has so far this season and the Hoosiers did not lead until nearly the end of the third quarter. Graduate student guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary sunk a free throw to put her squad ahead 44-43, a lead that stuck for the remainder of the contest.
Head coach Teri Moren was proud of her team’s resolve in a hard-fought win.
“This is a good win for us,” Moren said at the post-game press conference. “This is a team, Quinnipiac, that hopefully will win their conference, and this will be good at the end of the season for us from a resumé standpoint. Happy that we got the win, but we had to dig, scratch and claw, all of it.”
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Slow starts have been a trend for Indiana this season, struggling early in each of its first three games and against Quinnipiac. Going forward, Indiana wants to come out of the gates stronger and learn from every contest.
“I think just continuing to grow game by game,” senior guard Grace Berger said. “And learning not to let other teams come in more amped up than us, and just kind of weathering that storm and coming out and really give other teams that first punch.”
One reason the Hoosiers struggled to gather momentum was a quick-whistle from the referees. Foul calls created a choppy play which made it difficult for the team to find any rhythm.
“A lot of starts and stops throughout,” Moren said. “There were a lot of whistles blowing, and I thought it was hard for both teams. I thought the second half was a little bit easier to get some rhythm and some momentum inside the game.”
For a second time this season, Berger hit a buzzer-beating shot to end the first half for Indiana. Berger took a last-second heave from three-quarters court, knocking it down and cutting Quinnipiac’s halftime lead to 6 points.
Indiana went on to outscore Quinnipiac 40-26 in the second half. Despite the impressive shot, Berger didn’t credit it for generating momentum for the team, instead attributing it to solid fundamentals.
“Maybe it gave us a little momentum, but I really don’t think it did,” Berger said. “Really what helped us make a run in the second half was making our layups, making our free throws, not turning the ball over and playing solid defense. A half-court shot is always cool, but really, I think it was just the little things that helped us build that momentum.”
After a close win on the road, Indiana will head back to Bloomington before traveling to Nassau, Bahamas for the Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Classic. Indiana will face No. 7 Stanford at 1:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and the game will stream on FloSports.
With the reigning national champions up next, the preparation for Thursday afternoon’s matchup starts now for the Hoosiers.
“We'll start our prep tonight on our flight back to Bloomington,” Moren said. “We know that you know we're facing the national champs, and so it's going to be a couple really great days of women's basketball.”