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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

3 moments behind No. 6 Indiana women’s basketball’s 91-68 win over Rutgers

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Indiana women’s basketball extended its winning streak to seven games with a 91-68 victory over Rutgers in Bloomington on Sunday. With 8,598 fans in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, the game marked the seventh-most attended game and the third-straight game to rank top-10 in program history.

The Hoosiers got the win thanks to a balanced offensive attack and knockdown shooting from beyond the arc. Four players scored in double-figures and the team shot 61% from 3-point range.

Here are three plays that changed the game and showed the Hoosiers’ poise in the convincing win.

8:32, second quarter: Chloe Moore-McNeil and-1

The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair until the final minute of the frame, when Rutgers turned back-to-back steals into fast break layups to take a 5-point lead into the break.

Rutgers kept the momentum going to start the second quarter and took its largest lead of the game on a jumper by senior guard Kai Carter less than a minute into the quarter. Needing a play to stop the run, Indiana got its answer from versatile junior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil.

Moore-McNeil brought the ball up, handed it off to junior guard Sydney Parrish and immediately cut to the basket. As Parrish swung the ball to graduate guard Grace Berger on the wing, Moore-McNeil ran past a free throw line screen set by senior forward Mackenzie Holmes to create space from her defender and Berger fired a pass into the paint. Moore-McNeil caught the pass and laid the ball up just before the help defense arrived, drawing the foul and an eruption of cheers from the stands.

At the free-throw line, Moore-McNeil hit the free throw to complete the 3-point play and swing momentum back to the Hoosiers.

The play accounted for the first three points of an 11-0 run which saw Indiana turn a 7-point deficit into a 4-point advantage in less than two minutes of game time to fully shift the energy in the building. Following the run, Indiana never trailed in the game again.

After the game, Parrish said the play was simply a result of staying focused on winning and not on the deficit

“We can go down and we just stay focused,” Parrish said. “We don't get down on ourselves and hang our heads. We just got to finish to the end. The game's not over in the first quarter.”

8:02, third quarter: Grace Berger 3-pointer

Although Indiana won the second quarter 33-20 and entered halftime with momentum and the lead, there were still 20 minutes to play, and the visitors had proved they were not going to go away quietly.

To start the second half, Rutgers freshman guard Kaylene Smikle knocked down a triple to cut the lead to five points — part of her game-high 25 points.

However, Berger made sure the basket wouldn’t turn into a run by knocking down a wide-open 3-point jumper of her own to push the lead back to 8 points. The make was Berger’s second from deep on the day and she finished 3-of-3 from beyond the arc — just the second time in her career that she made three triples in a single game, which she accomplished in 2019.

Head coach Teri Moren complimented her star’s shooting from both mid-range and from deep, saying it’s an aspect of Berger’s game that she has put a lot of time into in practice.

“Playing at that next level, she knows that she's going to have to be consistent from beyond the arc and it's something that she has really worked hard,” Moren said. “And when she's done with her career here in Indiana, it's what's going to probably get her next job at the next level.”

Following Berger’s 3-pointer, Indiana never again led by less than 8 points across the final 18 minutes of the game.

1:26, fourth quarter: Sara Scalia 3-pointer assisted by Lilly Meister

In the final 90 seconds of the game, a tipped pass led to a loose ball in Indiana’s paint. Despite two Rutgers players grabbing at the ball, freshman forward Lilly Meister came up with it on the ground and quickly sat up and fired a pass to senior guard Sara Scalia beyond the arc.

The wide-open Scalia knocked down the shot for her first made field goal of the game — prior to the attempt she was 0-of-4.

On the ensuing defensive possession, freshman guard Lexus Bargesser blocked a shot and started running up the floor. Graduate forward Alyssa Geary corralled the rebound and quickly passed it off to freshman guard Henna Sandvik who — without taking a dribble — fired a pass up court to a sprinting Bargesser who laid in the breakaway layup.

Despite not having any starters on the floor and with the game firmly in hand, the Hoosiers’ bench showed total effort and fight until the final buzzer, as all five players on the floor were involved in multiple scoring possessions at the end despite the blowout.

With the complete team win, the Hoosiers improve to 20-1 overall and 10-1 in the Big Ten, marking the eighth straight 20-win season for the program.

Follow reporters Will Foley (@foles24) and Matt Sebree (@mattsebree) and columnist Matt Press (@MattPress23) for updates throughout the Indiana women’s basketball season.
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