On a night where Indiana once led by 14 points, the Hoosiers couldn’t knock off the Big Ten leaders on the road. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights completed the comeback to beat the Hoosiers, 69-64.
With 5:34 to play, Rutgers took the lead for good after Indiana had led for over 32 minutes. The story, once again, was the 21 turnovers committed by the Hoosiers. Indiana had a chance to capture a big road win and put together a solid first half, taking a nine-point lead into halftime. The Scarlet Knights took control in the second half and eventually held court at home.
Thursday’s loss starts the first of two straight road games and the first game of four road games in the next five games. Without further adieu, here are three takeaways from Rutgers’ 69-64 win.
Too many turnovers
The turnover bug has bitten Indiana in the last two games. After turning the ball over 20 times on Sunday at home vs. Maryland, the Hoosiers turned around and committed 21 turnovers Thursday night in Piscataway. At the end of the third quarter, the Scarlet Knights put on a full court press that continued into fourth quarter. That caused plenty of issues for the Hoosiers as they had trouble even advancing the ball past half court.
“We have an issue right now with ball security,” IU coach Teri Moren told the media in Piscataway, New Jersey. “We’re turning it too much, turned it over too much against Maryland at home, turned it over too much again the third quarter, obviously. Ball security has been our issue. It’s our Achilles heel right now until our kids understand that and take ownership for that and fix it – we’re going to be in tight games, but at times we’ll be able to close it out.”
In the final three minutes of the third quarter the Hoosiers turned the ball over seven times. Indiana committed 14 second half turnovers, as well. Turnovers continue to plague Indiana and it will continue to be a story. Five Hoosiers committed multiple turnovers including Ali Patberg who had five. Give Rutgers a ton of credit, however. Its pressure gave Indiana fits and made it very difficult for the Hoosiers to run consistent offense.
Something positive to take away from Thursday’s win is the balanced scoring from the Hoosiers. Indiana had four players in double figures, including Brenna Wise who led the Hoosiers with 15 points. Behind Wise was Penn and Yeaney with 12 points each and Patberg who finished with 10 points, her first double-digit point game since her 22-point performance against Northwestern on January 16.
Even though it ultimately wasn’t enough to get the job done, Moren has to be encouraged that she can get a solid performance from four different players. It gives them the ability to compete with the best teams in the conference and stay competitive.
Moren talked after the game about the current issues still being fixable with her team. The 21 turnovers isn’t ideal, but it’s something Moren hopes her team can eventually fix. The turnovers are the first issue while shooting percentage might the other. Indiana shot just over 40 percent in Thursday’s loss. It’s interesting those two things have started to perk up as problems as there could be a correlation between the two, especially when a team speeds you up as Rutgers did to the Hoosiers Thursday.
“All of our issues seem to be fixable,” Moren said. “We bring them to the forefront and they know they watch a ton of film. It’s coached everyday in practice, it’s just it resonates or they take ownership for how precious that thing is. It’s disappointing.”
Indiana is next in action Sunday at Nebraska as it puts its 5-5 Big Ten record on the line against the Cornhuskers.