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Saturday, March 2
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

No. 10 Indiana women’s basketball stifled by turnovers, loses to No. 8 Ohio State

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Sunday afternoon was the perfect opportunity for No. 10 Indiana women’s basketball to answer questions regarding its ability to compete with top level teams. With losses to then-No. 15 Stanford University and No. 3 Iowa as stains on an otherwise spotless record, the Hoosiers approached Sunday’s top-10 showdown against No. 8 Ohio State with aspirations of recording a win on the biggest stage.  

While Indiana finished the first half with a 37-32 lead, a season-high 23 turnovers spoiled the Hoosiers performance as they fell to the Buckeyes 74-69. 

Indiana knew it would face smothering defensive pressure from an Ohio State team that forces a Big Ten-leading 21 turnovers per game. 

“We knew that they were going to press,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren postgame. “That's what they feed off of — their press and creating turnovers.” 

The Hoosiers saw the Buckeyes’ pressure early in the form of a full-court press, slowing down Indiana’s offense in the first quarter. After the first frame, the Hoosiers trailed 18-11 and had six turnovers. 

Fortunately for Indiana, the scoring of fifth-year senior guard Sara Scalia and graduate student forward Mackenzie Holmes covered up the cream and crimson’s miscues as the Hoosiers took a 5-point lead into the half. The pair accounted for 21 of Indiana's 37 points in the first half. However, Scalia and Holmes' ability to mask the repercussions of turnovers was a temporary solution to a lasting issue. 

“We got to halftime and knew that Ohio State tends to be a very, very good third-quarter team,” Moren said. 

Within the first 32 seconds of the second half, Indiana turned the ball over twice off the press, setting the precedent for a disastrous quarter. Ultimately, the Hoosiers were outscored 23-10 in the third period while attempting a minuscule 10 field goals. 

Indiana finished the quarter with 10 points and 11 turnovers. 

“We tried to prepare our guys for that aggressiveness that was going to come with the press,” Moren said. “The first four minutes just got away from us, and I thought we lost all momentum. Then we were playing catch-up for the remainder of the game.” 

The Hoosiers trailed by as many as 14 points early in the fourth quarter but managed to draw within 3 in the final 16 seconds.  

But it was too little, too late. 

Collectively, the Hoosiers finished with a season-high 23 giveaways, well beyond their previous high of 18. Ohio State scored 21 points off turnovers, dwarfing Indiana’s four. Moren wasted no words when discussing the miscues during the postgame press conference. 

“21 points off of our turnovers, that's the game right there," Moren said. “We could dissect it any way you want, but that's the game.” 

Indiana’s inability to maintain possession on the offensive end allowed players like graduate student guard Jacy Sheldon and sophomore forward Cotie McMahon to explode in transition for high-percentage looks at the rim. 

“That's where [Ohio State finds] their energy,” Holmes said. “That's when they go on runs is when they can get turnovers and score quickly.” 

Sheldon finished with 25 points and McMahon added 20 in the Buckeyes win, most of which were sparked in the transition. Three different Hoosiers had five or more turnovers — Holmes, senior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil and sophomore guard Yarden Garzon. But ultimately, it was Moren who took responsibility for the Hoosiers’ lack of success against the press. 

“I'm going to take credit, I’ll take all responsibility for it,” Moren said. “It wasn't like we were surprised by it, but we just didn't handle it very well. There's a lot of things I'd like to do differently, but you don't get second chances.” 

Indiana will look to figure out its turnover struggles when it returns to Bloomington to host Michigan State (16-5, 6-4 Big Ten) at 7 p.m, Feb. 8. The matchup will be streaming on Peacock. 

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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