Despite a late surge and attempts to tie the game, No. 4 Indiana women’s basketball lost its first game of the season Thursday afternoon, 69-66, against No. 7 Stanford University at Baha Mar Convention Center in Nassau, Bahamas.
While the team did not get the result it wanted, it is looking to learn from a narrow, early-in-the-season defeat at the hands of the reigning NCAA champions.
On the team’s last possession of the game, trailing by 3 points with 6.8 seconds remaining, graduate student guard Ali Patberg missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer. Junior forward Mackenzie Holmes rebounded the shot and missed a putback attempt, sealing the Stanford victory.
Although Patberg did not knock down the shot, head coach Teri Moren said she was happy with Patberg’s final attempt and is confident Holmes can learn from her decision to attempt a 2-pointer while trailing by 3 in the closing seconds.
“Ali got a good look there at the end, it just didn’t go down for her,” Moren said. “Great, great learning for Mackenzie, realizing that we’re down three, she has to kick that thing back out and give us another shot outside the arc. It’s a great opportunity for her to learn and our entire group to learn.”
One area the team struggled Thursday was rebounding, with the Cardinal posting a 59-38 advantage on the glass. The Hoosiers’ struggles on the glass were in large part due to a 21-point and 22-rebound performance from Stanford sophomore forward Cameron Brink.
The main takeaway from the loss for Patberg is the team’s competitive nature and ability to contend with one of the top programs in the sport.
“We're disappointed with how we played but our fight was there, our energy, our willingness to not give up,” Patberg said. “We didn't shoot well, we didn't rebound well and defensively, we made some mistakes. It gives us confidence that we can play with the best teams in the country, and we're gonna learn a lot from the film.”
Regardless of the positives and lessons from the game, the team is not pleased with the end result. Moren said her squad is disappointed with the loss, and the team’s response going forward in the season will show its identity.
“Our kids are disappointed, certainly, and we’re disappointed as a staff,” Moren said. “We talk about bounce back-ability all the time, so this is gonna be a great test for us to see if we have that in the day and a half we have. I love this group and I love how tough they are.”
Indiana will stay in the Bahamas for another game in the Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship, facing the University of Miami at 8:30 p.m Saturday. After a day of soaking in the loss, Moren said her team will prepare for its next challenge.
“We feel bad for ourselves for a couple hours after a tough game, falling short,” Moren said. “And then the next day, man, it's time to go back to work and figure out how we're gonna beat a really good Miami team.”