In a game of runs, the Hoosiers managed to pick up a big 85-72 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes. Mackenzie Holmes continues her dominant stretch, adding another double-double to her superb sophomore year with 25 points and 12 rebounds Sunday. Ali Patberg also came up big with some incredible shots, scoring 22 points.
But Indiana announced a big loss Sunday, as Jaelynn Penn has decided to opt out of the season. This hurts IU’s perimeter defense, as IU could have really used her defending some of the guards that are on tap for opposing teams. Head coach Teri Moren respects her decision to opt out of the season.
“Out of respect for Jaelynn, we just have to let Jaelynn take care of Jaelynn right now,” Moren said.
On a positive note, Nicole Cardano-Hilary filled Penn’s absence perfectly, going 3-for-6 from 3-point land and dropping 17 points Sunday. Cardano-Hilary’s teammates showed her full support throughout the game.
“It was great to see,” Holmes said. “She’s a great player and she’s taken a couple of games to get in the groove of things with a new team and new system. So I think she’s done a really great job and fits so well into what we are trying to do in pushing the ball and playing great defense. I think she stepped up huge tonight and we are looking for her to do that consistently.”
The dynamic Hawkeye duo of Caitlin Clarke and Monica Czinano was a problem for the Hoosiers at the start, as they combined for 15 of Iowa’s 18 first-quarter points.
However, for the Hoosiers, Cardano-Hilary came up with some big buckets in the absence of Penn. Berger was also very efficient with the Hawkeyes finding a way to shut down Holmes early on. Being down early, it was promising to see IU make a run at the Hawkeyes and eventually take a lead at the end of the first.
That lead would not last long, as Iowa went on a 10-0 run to start the second quarter. It seemed like Indiana didn’t have an answer for Clarke, as she hit some big shots to put the Hoosiers in a big deficit. But being the game of runs it was, IU went on a 10-0 run to retake the lead. The Hoosiers seemed to find a way to get Holmes some touches, and it worked with her making big shots inside.
The Hoosiers came out hot to start the third, as they went on a 6-0 run. Berger’s driving ability opened up the floor for shooters such as Cardano-Hilary and Patberg to hit some shots and extend the lead. But Iowa stormed right back and was able to force Indiana to make some shots. With both teams being able to hit shots down the stretch of the third, things were shaping up for an entertaining final 10 minutes of play.
Once again, Indiana stormed out of the gate in the fourth quarter, going up 10 on Iowa. Patberg was huge on that run, as she scored a quick six points to build some Hoosier confidence from the field. Holmes, along with Cardano-Hilary, got some big buckets down the stretch to try and close the game.
Iowa was not able to manage to come back from this run, as IU had some big stops in the final minutes to put this game away and give the Hoosiers their 11th win of the season. The win is Indiana’s first in Iowa City since 1994.
“I can’t tell you how happy I am for those guys,” Moren said. “We did a tremendous job defensively, and I know Caitlin Clarke had 30, but she had to shoot it 27 times to get her 30. So just excited for our group, 16 assists, low turnover, everybody contributed, and that’s what you have to have and what you have to do on the road.”
IU now moves on to a home game against Penn State in three days. The Hoosiers defeated the Nittany Lions handily in the first matchup between these two teams, so Indiana will look to replicate that same performance come Wednesday night.