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No. 8 Indiana earns historic win over No. 6 Maryland behind incredible defensive performance

After 11 straight losses to the Maryland Terrapins, the Indiana women’s basketball team has finally done it. In a game that needed to go into overtime to decide the winner, the No. 8 Hoosiers defeated the No. 6 Terrapins 70-63 to get a signature win which will help them down the road. Head coach Teri Moren said she couldn’t be more proud of her group making history at Simon Skjodt Assembly hall on Sunday afternoon.

“I’m just so happy for our kids,” Moren said. “They had to play a lot of minutes today, and I thought we were great defensively. Give our kids credit, we had to control the pace for the game to be in the 60’s for Maryland. [We] really wanted to limit our shot opportunities, this is a team that really thrives on possessions. They want to come down and guard real quick in hope you turn it over. And I thought our kids executed the game plan almost perfectly.”

Last year Maryland scored 84 points on the Hoosiers in College Park, which was the only meeting the two teams had this season. Ashley Owusu was a huge factor in that game, as she scored 20 points while also grabbing five rebounds and dishing out five assists. With Diamond Miller coming back into the lineup and the Terps being at full strength, this would be a very challenging offense for the Hoosiers to slow down. 

But IU was up for the challenge, as the Hoosiers held almost the same Maryland to under 70 points and forced the Terrapins into some uncharacteristic mistakes. Owusu only scored half of what she had a year ago with 10 points, and really felt the pressure of the Indiana defense, turning the ball over seven times. Moren said that Sunday’s performance on defense is what Indiana women’s basketball is all about. 

“Since we’ve been here we have tried to hang our hats on the defensive side of the ball,” Moren said. “If you come to Indiana, you’re going to really have to really thrive and enjoy playing defense for us. Our staff does a tremendous job in terms of their preparation. But we’ve been stingy, we have tough kids, they’re gritty. Some gameplanning with this group is really fun because you can do a lot of different things because of their basketball IQ.”

Another glaring difference in last year’s game to this one was the confidence level in the Hoosiers. Indiana struggled against the Terrapin pressure to start off the game in College Park last year, as Maryland got off to a 10-0 start with Indiana having lots of turnovers to give the Terrapins extra possessions. 

This year, however, was different. Although Indiana didn’t shoot the ball well to start off the game, the defense stuck with it to keep Maryland from running away early on and not having Indiana bury itself in a deep hole. With lots of time off due to COVID cancellations and jumping into a game against an elite team like Maryland, it was essential that the Hoosiers kept the game close early on. 

Part of that was due to Ali Patberg, as she did a phenomenal job defending the dynamic duo of Owusu and Miller early on. Later on in the game, her shooting ability and finishing at the rim were huge reasons Indiana came out on top, even on a cold shooting night for the Hoosiers. Patberg helped Indiana stay above water in a third quarter where Maryland seemed to have gotten it going offensively. Her driving ability as well as her vision even helped the Hoosiers get a five-point lead and give the team some much-needed confidence. 

A win like this goes a long way for the Hoosiers. Being the only time that IU has defeated Maryland since joining the Big Ten gives the team early confidence and momentum in what will certainly be a grind of a Big Ten conference season. The Hoosiers travel to Madison where they will take on the Wisconsin Badgers at the Kohl Center on Wednesday. While the team will enjoy this win for now, Patberg said there is still work to be done and the job is not yet finished. 

“I think we need to celebrate today, coach always gives us the 24-hour rule,” Patberg said. “But tomorrow then we’re going to get back to work, because we go on the road in three days. So we’re going to celebrate it tonight, but then it’s back to work, because that’s how we’ve gotten to this point.”

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