Some things are just simple and easy to understand. Take basic math as an example.
Two plus two equals four is something we all learned on day one. Seven times two equals 14 instead of 10, but you can’t disrupt the Big Ten brand. And, last but certainly not least, 51 points is fewer than 62, the number of points Indiana women’s basketball scored to defeat Maryland in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals on Friday.
There are many numbers — both exact and rough estimates — to be picked apart in a basketball game, and that’s why the kind Big Ten media relations department provides us with the almighty box score.
Let’s dive into what this one said, shall we?
To begin, Maryland was simply outnumbered. Indianapolis is full of Indiana fans and alumni alike, and Bloomington is approximately 45 miles away, a reasonable drive for Hoosier fans. And boy, did they show out.
Indiana fans nearly filled entire sections in Gainbridge Fieldhouse and took up large swaths of bleachers in the others, while most Maryland fans were relegated to a separate section behind their team’s bench. They were outnumbered and outcheered, and their team was outdone.
When Terps’ fans cheered on the rare occasions Maryland gave them something to cheer about, it was typically short lived and drowned out by the ensuing roar of the Hoosier crowd, clad in crimson.
Indiana’s student section, the Crimson Guard, was particularly loud with its protests of foul calls, cheers for its team and jeers for its opponent.
Now, what about Maryland’s team? Well, back to simple math — the Terps were simply outshot. But take even the smallest peak at the box score, and you’ll notice many stats that favor Maryland.
Indiana had a narrow 42-39 rebounding advantage, but the Hoosiers hauled in 32 offensive boards to Maryland’s 24.
Most of what’s left of the box score, except for the scoring itself, favors Maryland. The Terrapins were able to get 25 points from their bench unit to the Hoosiers’ 7. They outscored Indiana in the paint 34-28, led 20-14 in second-chance points and took 15 more shots.
That final stat comes with a caveat: teams take more shots when they’re losing. And why, dear reader, was Maryland shooting that much?
Because Maryland finished shooting 31%, which may have been some form of tribute to former Indiana Pacer Reggie Miller in the house he built, but I digress. That 31% mark is significantly less than Indiana’s 40%.
Let’s be fair, most of the math historically favors the Terps. Maryland holds a 12-2 advantage in the all-time series, but both wins by Indiana came this season. With Friday’s win also came Indiana’s largest margin of victory against Maryland, 11 points.
Maryland also had the superior individual performance, with junior guard Ashley Owusu leading all scorers with 21 points. The Terps’ second leading scorer, sophomore forward Angel Reese, also put up 14 points. After some more quick math, that comes out to 35 points.
But no other Terp scored more than 4 points. Meanwhile, on the Hoosiers’ end, junior forward Mackenzie Holmes led the way with 17 points. Senior guard Grace Berger came right behind with 16 points of her own.
“Death, taxes, Grace Berger in the midrange,” one Indiana fan said loudly Friday.
Indiana also found enough production from graduate student guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary, who came 1 point away from being in double figures herself. That’s three solid scorers for Indiana, more than Maryland’s two. Simple math.
As the last few seconds ticked off of the clock before the final buzzer, one member of the Crimson Guard shouted to Maryland’s bench across the court: “Have fun going back to College Park!”
College Park is approximately 495 miles away from Gainbridge Fieldhouse. That is significantly more than the number of miles, if any, Indiana will travel back to its team hotel in Indianapolis before preparing for Saturday’s semifinal against No. 1-seed Ohio State.