Indiana Daily Student

No. 10 Indiana women’s basketball limits turnovers in 86-66 win over No. 20 Ohio State

Senior guard Grace Berger dribbles behind her back  on Nov. 10, 2021, at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Berger scored 21 points in Indiana women's basketbball's win against Ohio State on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.
Senior guard Grace Berger dribbles behind her back on Nov. 10, 2021, at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Berger scored 21 points in Indiana women's basketbball's win against Ohio State on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.

Turnovers have been a part of the story in every game Indiana women’s basketball has played so far in the 2021-22 season. Head coach Teri Moren and the players alike discussing how the team needs to tighten up and commit less turnovers has become a commonplace, adding how turnovers are one of the biggest areas for concern for the team.

That turnover-centric narrative remained present in No. 10 Indiana’s 86-66 win over No. 20 Ohio State Sunday night, but in a very different way. Indiana took advantage of turnovers and ball pressure to get the victory, forcing 17 from Ohio State and only committing 12 of its own.

Going into the game, the Buckeyes forced an average of 20.4 turnovers from opponents. 

In their previous two games, the Hoosiers gave up 22 and 19 turnovers, respectively. Junior forward Mackenzie Holmes said they knew that needed to change and that it would be a key factor in the game.

Women's basketball: [COLUMN: Indiana women’s basketball sends message to Big Ten in win over Ohio State]

“That’s something that we’ve been working on in practice,” she said. “Just being sound and being patient.”

Indiana forced seven Ohio State turnovers in the first quarter alone and five came before Ohio State put a point on the board. In that time, Indiana went on a 10-0 run, largely thanks to Holmes, who scored the first 6 points of the game.

In turn, the Hoosiers only had four turnovers going into halftime. Head coach Teri Moren said she thought the turnover ratio was a result of her team’s play rather than how the Buckeyes played. 

“It was our ability to take care of the ball which helped us,” she said. “That was why we got the lead and were able to keep the lead. Turnovers are possessions, and when you don’t have possessions you can’t score the ball.”

Indiana scored 26 points off turnovers alone and didn’t give up the lead throughout the whole game. While it forced a lot of turnovers, Indiana’s defense didn’t play recklessly or out of character.

In fact, Moren described Indiana’s defense as “vanilla”; it wasn’t overly aggressive and didn’t take unnecessary risks that could lead to mistakes. 

Women's basketball: [No. 10 Indiana women's basketball dominates No. 20 Ohio State behind Holmes’ 30 points]

“We don’t stab and miss, we don’t take ourselves out of place,” Moren said. “We allowed them to make their own mistakes.”

The strength of the Indiana defense proved to be instrumental in maintaining the lead, largely due to graduate student guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary. She finished the game with 17 points, seven rebounds and two steals.

Cardaño-Hillary defends on all areas of the court, whether that be under the opponent’s basket for rebounds or stealing the ball at the half-court line. Holmes said her defense kept pressure on Ohio State and gave Indiana more momentum.

“The ball pressure that we apply on teams, especially Nikki picking up the ball at full court for 40 minutes is a really tough assignment,” Holmes said. “We were able to convert off of Nikki speeding up the ball.”

Indiana has a week off following its win, not facing another opponent until Dec. 19 when the team will play Western Michigan University. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on BTN+.

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