Eleven combined points between seniors Ali Patberg and Keyanna Warthen helped propel the Hoosiers to their 16th win in the Big Ten 74-59 over their in-state rival Purdue.
After being up only two points on the Boilermakers entering the fourth, a 10-0 IU run with some great defensive stops down the stretch helped put Purdue away for a season ending win on Senior Day. Head coach Teri Moren spoke about her senior captain and how much she has meant to the program.
“[She’s meant] everything,” Moren said of Patberg. “I think about our culture, and we’ve been here for seven years. Not to take anything away from Tyra (Buss) and Amanda (Cahill), because I love them and they’ve meant everything to this program. But when I think about Ali Patberg, she’s a kid that told me everything she was going to know and do, and has done.”
Despite only scoring eight points, Patberg made a big difference in this game otherwise. Knowing the threat she is offensively, she was able to find open teammates throughout the game, which created many opportunities for IU to explore on offense.
Mackenzie Holmes and Aleksa Gulbe led the game for the Hoosiers scoring wise. Holmes scored 26 points on the day on a very efficient 12-for-15 clip. She was also very impactful on the defensive side of the ball, totaling two steals and three blocks. Gulbe added 14 points to the stat sheet, while also racking up four rebounds and three assists.
It was quite the track meet to start things off, as both teams were shooting over 50% halfway through the first quarter. The Hoosiers found their scoring with moving the ball around well, eventually finding the open Hoosier for a bucket. Purdue, however, was able to get the ball inside by either driving to the hoop, or feeding it to Fatou Diange, as she had four early points for Purdue.
For Indiana, the plan early on was to get it inside, and it was executed very well. Gulbe and Holmes combined for 10 of the 17 first quarter points for Indiana. Defensively, IU picked it up and did much better towards the end of the first. Holly Noveraske came off the bench and did a great job rebounding against a Purdue team with some size. Nicole Cardano-Hillary was excellent with her perimeter defense as well, getting a couple steals in the quarter.
Second-chance points and turnovers hurt Indiana, and allowed Purdue to take the lead early on in the second quarter. Purdue had four offensive rebounds to Indiana’s zero, and it was clear Indiana needed a response to that. Luckily, Gulbe’s production on the offensive end allowed for Indiana to respond to the second-chance buckets from the Boilermakers.
The ability for Patberg and Berger to make some tough shots helped Indiana extend its lead. The two combined for eight of the 17 IU points in the second quarter, and were a main reason Indiana started to convert more at the offensive end. A Cardano-Hillary buzzer-beating layup sent the Hoosiers into the locker room with a five-point lead over Purdue 34-29.
IU jumped out to a nine-point lead to start things off in the third quarter, thanks to some great ball movement from Berger and Patberg. Nine points from Holmes inside helped get her back on track, after just having four points in the first half. But Purdue would not back down, as they were able to capitalize off some Hoosier turnovers and missed shots to cut the Indiana lead to four.
It would be a back and forth scoring wise down the stretch of the third quarter. However, Purdue would force IU into some late clock turnovers and tough shots, which put the Boilermakers right back in the game with a two-point game heading into the final 10 minutes of the ballgame.
Getting stops on the defensive end helped IU open up the lead in the fourth quarter. Scoring from a variety of levels, the Hoosiers went on a 10-0 run to extend their lead to 13 points at one point. Gulbe and Holmes led the scoring stretch, scoring many points in the paint in the fourth quarter. Thanks to a phenomenal fourth quarter, the Hoosiers were able to defeat Purdue 74-59 on Senior Day. Holmes spoke about how she was able to have a solid scoring stretch in the fourth.
“We were getting good looks from our guards in the first half, so I didn’t really have any solid looks for myself,” Holmes said. “The guards were hitting their shots and in the second half they were guarding the ball pretty hard so it left me some open looks.”
The Big Ten tournament is up next for Indiana, as the Hoosiers take on either Iowa or Minnesota in their first matchup. IU is undefeated against both teams this season, so they look forward to resting up before some tough matchups in Indianapolis.