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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

No. 14 Indiana women’s basketball’s veterans inspire comeback, help defeat Penn State

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No. 14 Indiana women’s basketball trailed for just 1:28 in the first quarter but found itself down 4 points after 10 minutes. Indiana head coach Teri Moren slammed her closed fist at her clipboard at the conclusion of the frame, displaying her frustration. 

While the Hoosiers aren’t unfamiliar with trailing after the first quarter — doing so four times this season — they hadn’t found themselves in that scenario at home yet. Whether it was winning the tipoff and promptly turning it over, allowing 18 points in the paint or the abundance of turnovers, Moren wasn’t thrilled with her team’s start to the contest. 

“I thought we were focused — we were ready to get out of the gates fast and then the first thing we do is we get the tip, and we go out and turn it over,” Moren said postgame. “And then from there, they just continued to gain confidence because we weren’t setting up our cuts, we weren’t meeting our passes. They were making us uncomfortable.” 

Although Indiana entered Wednesday averaging 13.75 turnovers per Big Ten contest this season, the team committed six in the first quarter. While they reduced their turnovers to just two in the second quarter, the Hoosiers were outscored in the paint and outrebounded, finding themselves down 5 points at halftime. 

With her team trailing at the break for just the third time this season, Moren knew adjustments needed to be made in the locker room. Whether it was gap support, being more active around the ball or trying not to foul as much, she needed her squad’s performance to change in the second half.  

But through three minutes in the third quarter, Indiana found itself down 9 points — its largest deficit so far in conference play. With the 8,516 fans in attendance seeing their team stumble, Moren and senior guards Sydney Parrish and Chloe Moore-McNeil delivered messages during a 30-second timeout with just under seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. 

“It took us going down by nine to have a really good heart-to-heart in that timeout,” Moren said. “I had to get after them, and they responded. I thought Syd was great inside that timeout, as well, and Chloe I think spoke up. It was a gut check time, but it was about pride and being able to guard our man better but also being able and willing to help each other guard the ball better.” 

After the timeout, Parrish went on a 9-1 run sinking a pair of layups, a 3-pointer and two free-throws to give the Hoosiers a 1-point lead. Not only did Parrish contribute offensively, but she continued to make meticulous hustle plays while laying her body on the line.  

From the timeout forward, Indiana outscored Penn State 37-22 en route to a 75-67 triumph. While the Nittany Lions “jumped” — as Moren described it — on the Hoosiers early, they found a way to regain the lead and held onto it until the final buzzer sounded. 

Indiana entered Wednesday with a 22.6 scoring margin, meaning close victories haven’t been all too common yet this season. In 2022-23, the Hoosiers finished the season with an 18.8 scoring margin, yet they fell to the University of Miami in the NCAA Tournament Round of 32. 

“If you’re scouting us right now, which I just said to my staff, it kind of reminded me of Miami last year in the NCAA Tournament,” Moren said. “They jumped on us in that first half. We kind of stumbled on our heels. And so, I don’t want that to happen, and I’m going to try to make sure that we can prevent that happening by working on it right now as we move forward.” 

While the 8-point victory over Penn State may have been a tale of two halves, Indiana made the necessary adjustments to walk away with its 13th consecutive victory. Although it may have been too close for comfort for players and fans alike, Moren feels Wednesday can serve as a learning moment ahead of a showdown with Iowa on Saturday. 

“Well, they’re not all as pretty as we would like them to be sometimes, and a lot of that had to do with Penn State,” Moren said. “We have still improvements to make, and there’s always something that we can find that we have to improve before we go on the road this weekend.” 

Follow reporters Dalton James (@DaltonMJames) and Quinn Richards (@Quinn_richa), columnist Ryan Canfield (@_ryancanfield) and photographer Olivia Bianco (@theoliviabianco) for updates throughout the Indiana women’s basketball season.

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