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Sunday, April 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

No. 14 Indiana women’s basketball forces crucial turnovers in scrappy win over Wisconsin

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No. 14 Indiana women’s basketball emerged victorious in the first leg of a two-game road stint Wednesday night as the Hoosiers defeated Wisconsin 68-54 in Madison. Although Indiana had one of its worst shooting quarters of the season, the cream and crimson’s defense came through with a plethora of forced turnovers to earn a gritty win. 

Graduate student forward Mackenzie Holmes played an important role on both ends of the floor, leading Indiana in points, rebounds and steals. The Hoosiers' new all-time leading scorer had a season-high four steals which capped off her 24-point, eight-rebound performance. 

After outscoring Wisconsin 21-6 in the second quarter to take a 41-25 lead, the Hoosiers appeared to be in prime position to coast to a third-straight win in conference play. However, Indiana came out flat in the third quarter, shooting 23.1% from the field and 1-for-6 from beyond the arc. This allowed the Badgers to storm back and cut the Hoosiers' lead to as few as six before Indiana’s defense came through in the clutch. 

“When you’re not shooting it well, that’s when your defense has to become greater,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said postgame. “Stops are that much more important.” 

The Hoosiers forced 19 turnovers against Wisconsin —- but more importantly, they converted those takeaways into points on the offensive end of the floor. Indiana finished the game with 29 points off turnovers, 43% of its total scoring. Indiana held the Badgers to 54 points, the fewest allowed by the Hoosiers since conference play began.  

While Indiana’s defense may have looked great on paper, Moren wasn’t completely satisfied with how her team played on the defensive end. 

“I thought we lacked a lot of toughness defensively,” Moren said. “That’s a bad habit to develop and we’re not going to be that team.” 

Wisconsin entered the game averaging a Big Ten-worst 62.6 points per game, which may have played a factor in Indiana’s defensive performance. That lack of toughness Moren mentioned will most likely need to be addressed by the Hoosiers sooner rather than later as No. 4 Iowa, the conference’s highest-scoring offense, will come to Bloomington on Feb. 22. 

One defensive aspect that Indiana struggled with against the Badgers was foul trouble. The Hoosiers tied their season high with 21 personal fouls Wednesday night and gave Wisconsin plenty of trips to the charity stripe. Indiana allowed 20 plus free throw attempts for only the third time this season, as the Badgers went 17-for-21 from the line.  

Sophomore guard Lexus Bargesser and freshman guard Lenee Beaumont both finished with four fouls while freshman guard Julianna LaMendola had to leave the game after picking up her fifth in the fourth quarter. Additionally, sophomore guard Yarden Garzon had limited minutes after picking up a pair of fouls early in the first quarter. 

As a starter, Garzon has struggled in that department all season and averages a team-high 2.8 fouls per game. For Indiana to have success, limiting opponents’ opportunities at the free throw line and keeping its core players on the court is crucial. 

The Hoosiers will finish up their two-game road stretch Monday afternoon against Illinois before returning home for the showdown with No. 4 Iowa. Indiana will tip off against the Fighting Illini at 2 p.m., and the President’s Day matchup will be televised on FOX. 

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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