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‘It was like a heavyweight boxing match:’ Indiana women’s basketball picks up dramatic win over Michigan State

Ali Patberg during Indiana’s win over Michigan State. (Kurt Spitler/HN)

Indiana and Michigan State sure have a case for the dramatic, and that was the case once again Sunday.

The last time the Hoosiers and the Spartans faced off, it took four overtimes before a winner prevailed. Then in East Lansing last January, it was IU who prevailed and held off a ferocious Spartans comeback. And in that game, it was then-freshman Jaelynn Penn hitting a three-pointer to seal the win for the Hoosiers.

Once again Sunday, it was Penn hitting the deciding shot from behind the arc to push Indiana to a 68-64 win and a 3-0 start in the Big Ten.

“She’s a kid that’s going to knock down (some shots), she’s going to miss a few, but she doesn’t lose her confidence,” IU coach Teri Moren said of Penn. “That three was, right now, from UCLA to today’s shot, she’s had two pretty big ones here early for us.”

When the Hoosiers have needed a big bucket, it’s been Penn who they have turned to. In December’s win at UCLA, it was once again Penn providing the heroics. She contributed a game-high 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including two makes from behind the arc.

But Sunday’s win was much more than just Penn. She provided some big moments, but it was truly a team win. It also happened to be Indiana’s first win over a ranked opponent in nearly two seasons and first of this season. Winning a game like Sunday’s could go very far for the Hoosiers as the season comes down the stretch.

“It was like a heavyweight boxing match,” Moren said. “Everybody was taking their best punches at each other.”

In all, there were 22 ties and 11 lead changes throughout the 40 minutes. Michigan State was the team leading throughout most of the first half. Then in the second half, it was the Spartans playing catch up.

There was an expectation coming in that this would be a track meet. Michigan State came in averaging over 80 points and Indiana was above 70. Yet, the first half was defense-oriented with plenty of sloppy play, but the Hoosiers were still able to get out of the first 20 minutes with a six-point lead. Penn’s shot at the buzzer gave the Hoosiers momentum and helped springboard them into the second half.

While Sunday’s win was important, the Hoosiers know there will be many more tests moving forward. The conference may be wide open, yet night in and night out, Indiana will be challenged. However, you can’t get better than 3-0 to start.

“These are games that we’ve worked for,” IU guard Ali Patberg said. “Honestly, we’re just taking it one game at a time. This was the next game up and we were ready for the challenge.”

“It’s our expectation to win,” Penn said.

Josh Eastern

I am a senior from Seattle, Washington majoring in Media. I am formerly of the Indiana Daily Student where I covered Indiana men’s soccer team and women’s basketball. You still can find me broadcasting for WIUX Student Radio and on BTN Student U outside of The Hoosier Network. Former intern at 710 ESPN Seattle and broadcaster for the Falmouth Commodores. Email: jeastern@thehoosiernetwork.com. Follow me on Twitter: @JoshEastern.

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