A fourth quarter that took over 40 minutes. A program-high 42 points. Five players in double figures. And in the end, a 96-91 loss.
No. 5 Indiana women’s basketball entered the fourth quarter down 71-49 in its Saturday matchup with No. 22 Iowa, who held all the momentum on both ends of the court. Indiana struggled in the first three quarters to find great looks and stop Iowa’s offense and defense.
Brief Hoosier scoring runs surfaced in the third quarter, but the 6- and 8-point runs weren’t enough to bring Indiana within 15 points of Iowa’s lead. For the success Indiana did have, Iowa had a better answer, and its largest lead stood at 24 points with 44 seconds left in the third quarter.
Then, something changed in the fourth quarter.
Junior forward Mackenzie Holmes immediately started the fourth-quarter scoring with a layup, which was immediately followed by back-to-back 3-pointers from senior guard Grace Berger and sophomore guard Chloe Moore-McNeil. Berger went on to lead the Hoosiers in the fourth-quarter scoring with 14 points, shooting 6-9 from the field and 2-5 from beyond the arc.
The Hoosiers scored 42 points in the fourth quarter, marking a new program-high for points scored in a single quarter. Those 42 points were more than the Hoosiers scored in the first half, and 22 of their 44 points in the paint also came in the fourth quarter.
“The team that showed up in the fourth — a little bit in the third, a little bit in the second — was the team that I thought was going to show up for most of the game,” head coach Teri Moren said.
Indiana’s energy was different — a kind not seen since the team returned from its two-week COVID-19 break.
“We knew we had one more quarter to give everything we had, and that’s what we did,” graduate student guard Ali Patberg said. “We just left everything else we had out on the floor. It’s frustrating because we could have done that earlier.”
The crowd of 7,052 Hoosier fans in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall spurred Indiana’s energy, which had only been seen in flashes throughout the first three quarters. The fourth quarter lasted over 40 minutes due to fouls, free throws, replay reviews, timeouts and any other time-stopping occurrence possible in a basketball game.
Though it seemed like every time the Hoosiers scored, the Hawkeyes were able respond, the Hoosiers were able to shrink the Hawkeyes’ lead to under 15 points with 1:22 left on the clock. Senior forward Aleksa Gulbe scored three free throws with 12 seconds left and brought the Hoosiers within four points of Iowa’s lead.
But there wasn’t enough time left. Iowa walked away with an upset win, handing Indiana its first at-home conference loss.
“I love the fact that we fought back the way we did,” head coach Teri Moren said. “That was who we are. We’ve seen that before. But today we just ran out of time.”
Indiana struggled against Iowa’s guard play, especially sophomore guard Caitlin Clark. Indiana chose to heavily guard Clark, holding her to 2 points in the first half, but in turn sacrificed easy baskets to other prolific Iowa scorers. Clark ultimately ended with 18 points.
Gulbe matched up with Iowa senior forward/center Monica Czinano, who scored 22 points to lead the Hawkeyes in scoring. Gulbe said the Hoosiers settled for jump shots rather than facing Czinano’s defense, which hurt them in the beginning of the game.
“(We) didn’t really attack to the basket,” Gulbe said. “Once we started doing that, she picked up a foul here and there and by the end of the game she couldn’t be as aggressive.”
Indiana’s in-game adjustments and resurgent energy, while late to the punch, have the potential to carry over into Monday, when Indiana and Iowa will have a rematch in Iowa City, Iowa. The game is set to tip off at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.