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Indiana completes season sweep of Purdue, holding off Boilermakers in front of raucous Assembly Hall crowd

Indiana welcomed one of the biggest crowds in Indiana women’s basketball history for the in-state rival Purdue and quickly turned the Boilermakers back to West Lafayette, as the Hoosiers took them down for the second time this season in a 64-57 win. No. 5 Indiana captures its second win in a row and 16th win of their season so far. 

Earlier this week the Hoosiers had to play in an empty Assembly Hall due to weather conditions, but this time around it was quite the opposite. Assembly Hall recorded a total of 7,891 fans in attendance, making it the fifth-largest crowd in Indiana women’s basketball history. After not having the chance to watch the team against Minnesota and the anticipation of Purdue coming into town, the crowd showed up for its record-breaking attendance. Head coach Teri Moren spoke about the atmosphere for Sunday’s matchup. 

“Outstanding crowd this afternoon in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall,” Moren said. “I think that is one of our largest. As I said to our kids today, I felt like there was going to be a great crowd that was going to come out and support us this afternoon so we are grateful. Once again, Hoosier nation showed up in a big kind of way.” 

A slow start for both teams saw several turnovers for Purdue, three in the first two minutes, and saw Indiana miss its first five shots of the game. With junior forward Mackenzie Holmes still out with a knee injury, the Hoosiers looked for a spark off the bench and got exactly that as sophomore Chloe Moore-McNeil recorded her first career double double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Moore-McNeil turned in a productive 29 minutes and made half of the Hoosiers’ 3-pointers on the night. Although graduate guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary led in points for this game, Cardaño-Hillary acknowledged what a day her teammate had. 

“Obviously we know the potential and what Chloe can bring to our team. It’s just so exciting for you guys to see as well, not just us. Chole not only gives us energy on defense, on offense, and she’s knocking down every shot. Like I said, I can go on forever,” Cardaño-Hillary said. 

Things seemed to be in control for Indiana as IU held onto a 10-point lead at half and even stretched it out for a game-high 19-point lead. But with a few turnovers by the Hoosiers and an 8-0 run by Purdue in the late third quarter, Purdue brought down the lead within five late in the fourth quarter. 

Indiana pushed the tempo on defense causing Purdue to turn the ball over a total of 18 times. The Hoosiers looked to capitalize on that margin but turned over the ball a few times themselves. Indiana turned over the ball 12 times, seven of those being caused by Cardaño-Hillary. Totaling six turnovers in just the fourth quarter saw the Hoosiers slowly losing the lead that they carried into the fourth. After the crowd gathered to their feet in support and two trips to the line for senior guard Grace Berger, the Hoosiers wrapped up the game and walked out of the weekend with a win. 

The win was headlined by Moore-McNeil’s performance but ultimately the Hoosiers know what is waiting for them as they start to close out regular-season games. 

“You have to give credit to this league, it’s really good. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, or where they are in the standings, if you are not ready to play you’re always in jeopardy of getting beat. You have to figure out a way to win the game,” Moren said. 

Indiana gets its eighth Big Ten win of the season and now looks ahead to a matchup with the Fighting Illini on Wednesday. Indiana only has six more games on its schedule, looking to have the opportunity to get 10 or more wins in conference play for this season. Indiana still has its eyes on the top of the Big Ten, currently sitting in second place right behind the Michigan Wolverines. Although the Hoosiers lost to Michigan earlier this year, the team will try to stay in the hunt for first place.

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