Ali Patberg fearlessly drove the lane, but fell hard on her shoulder. A silent Assembly Hall watched as she walked to the locker room, forcing an exit midway through the third quarter in Indiana’s matchup versus Minnesota.
“The only thing Ali asked Robert was, ‘Can I still play?’” IU coach Teri Moren, Indiana head coach said.
Patberg’s shoulder dislocated, but the training staff was able to pop it in. Her status going forward is unknown, according to Moren. In Patberg’s absence, the Hoosiers showed strong fight, but were unable to complete a comeback, falling 65-61.
Here are three takeaways from tonight’s game.
Jaelynn Penn steps up
Penn was 1-of-8 from the field through three quarters, but was the go-to player for the Hoosiers in the fourth.
“I think with Ali being out we had to put our part in it and try to do more to put points on the board and just keep attacking,” Penn said.
“So right now we just keep our fingers crossed and pray that whatever we find out with Ali, it’s short term.”
— The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) February 7, 2019
Finishing with 18 points, Penn shot 7-of-9 from the free throw line and had 10 points in the fourth quarter alone.
“Jaelynn gives us an experienced veteran shot-maker that we have seen,” Moren said. “You still have to guard her, you can’t cheat off her.”
Moren was pleased with Penn’s effort, but knows how much the team missed Patberg.
“It really impacts us,” Moren said. “[Patberg] is a big part of what we do offensively.”
Slow start offensively hurts chance to comeback
Trailing 9-4 after the first timeout, Moren was unhappy with the way her team came out tonight.
“I continue to be baffled with the inconsistency we start games with and why we can’t be consistent in knocking down shots,” Moren said.
The Hoosiers started the game 4-of-17 from the field, putting them in a 27-20 halftime deficit. Minnesota’s constant full court pressure kept the Hoosiers from getting in a rhythm offensively.
However, a 14-of-30 shooting effort in the second half helped Indiana come back. Trailing by two with under a minute to go, Moren drew up a play to free Penn for an open three, but Penn was unable to give Indiana the lead.
“We wanted to give ourselves the best chance at winning the ball game,” Moren said. “[Penn] had a great look, she was wide open and it just didn’t go down for her. That’s what you want in that situation.
Kenisha Bell proves to be too much for the IU defense
Though it wasn’t the most efficient night, Bell led the Golden Gophers with 22 points. Bell finished 5-of-21 from the field, but made her worth on the free throw line, shooting 11-of-17.
The Hoosiers had a tough time containing Bell, causing Moren to look to her bench since Kym Royster and Grace Berger each had four fouls.
“If anything, I think difficult losses energize us and makes us even more motivated to go out and get it right,” Moren said.
Looking ahead, the Hoosiers next matchup comes on the road at Michigan State on Feb. 11. Moren is confident her team’s motivation hasn’t wavered, even in a loss like tonight’s.