With 2:23 remaining in the second quarter and No. 5 Indiana women’s basketball up by 7 points, sophomore guard Chloe Moore-McNeil scooped up an offensive rebound from a missed free throw, passed the ball to a teammate and cut to the corner. Moments later, senior guard Grace Berger found Moore-McNeil for an open 3-pointer to give Indiana a 10-point lead, the largest of the game to that point.
Moore-McNeil finished the game with a double-double, recording career-highs of 11 points and 10 rebounds to lead Indiana to a 64-57 victory over Purdue on Sunday at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Moore-McNeil, Indiana’s sixth woman, also matched up well with Purdue defensively, getting a steal and slowing down Purdue’s offense as it tried to come back.
“It was really exciting beating a rival, but I will say that it would have never happened without the support of my teammates,” Moore-McNeil said postgame.
With Purdue leading 8-2 through the opening four minutes of the first quarter, Moore-McNeil entered the game and helped orchestrate a 12-2 run to put Indiana back in front. The early run shifted the momentum back in Indiana’s favor, and it never trailed again.
Graduate student guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary laughed before responding to a question posed postgame regarding Moore-McNeil’s play against Purdue.
“How much time you got? I could go forever,” Cardaño-Hillary said. “We know the potential and what Chloe can bring to our team and it's just so exciting for you guys to see it as well and not just us.”
Prior to Sunday, Moore-McNeil’s best game of the season came in what was the only start of her career — Indiana’s Jan. 16 matchup against Purdue in West Lafayette. In that game, she scored 10 points on 4-13 shooting and grabbed six rebounds in 43 minutes of play.
Moore-McNeil was much more efficient given her second opportunity against Purdue this season, as she shot 4-7 and recorded all her production in 29 minutes Sunday.
“It’s just a matter of when your number is called and you being ready,” head coach Teri Moren said. “Chloe came in and knocked down her first few shots and we know she’s going to play hard defensively.”
Coming into the game, Moore-McNeil’s career-high in rebounds was seven and her average on the season was less than three. Moren said Moore-McNeil has great length and said the two have talked about pursuing rebounds more aggressively.
“She is such a great rebounder, in practice in particular, so we challenged her with the job of getting more rebounds — more than one or two this afternoon,” Moren said. “She responded in a big kind of way, so that was great to see”
Earlier in the season against non-conference opponents, the Hoosiers’ bench players would mostly receive minutes once Indiana had already built a comfortable lead. Moren said the message to her bench players at the time was to focus on the game and let more experience improve their play.
With injuries and departures changing the Hoosiers’ rotation at various points this season, Moren said some of the bench players, including Moore-McNeil, have stepped up in recent games.
“They’re being called upon to play really important minutes for us,” Moren said. “Their level of focus, not just during games but in practices — I think all of them are just super locked in on what we have to do in order to win the game.”
Indiana improves to 16-3 overall and 8-2 in the Big Ten with the win and will take on Illinois at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Champaign, Illinois.