On Sunday, Indiana was down by two with 33 seconds left against UCLA. Out of the timeout, Ali Patberg drove baseline and dished to Jaelynn Penn in the corner, who knocked down what proved to be the game-winning three pointer. It helped Indiana to their seventh win in a row to start the season.
Penn, who has been struggling with her shot for most of the season, went 6-for-11 for 17 points against UCLA. This came after an 18-point first half performance against Wake Forest last Wednesday.
Even after a rolled ankle earlier in the week during practice, the coaching staff had no problem putting the ball in Penn’s hands for the game-winner.
"Great players make great shots, and she made a big one." -@TeriMoren
Despite battling some ankle discomfort, sophomore Jaelynn Penn continued to perform on the road last week, going for 25 against Wake Forest and knocking down Sunday's game winner at UCLA. #iuwbb pic.twitter.com/s7jku4rwnL
— The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) December 5, 2018
“Great players make great shots, and she made a big one,” IU coach Teri Moren said. “I don’t think we even thought about hesitating for a second. I think Coach Rhett asked her if she was ready to hit a shot and she said yeah.”
Indiana now has the nation’s longest win streak, dating back to last season’s WNIT championship. Notre Dame previously held the record, but its loss on Sunday to UConn has now given that title to the Hoosiers.
The 7-0 start is the best start under Moren and the longest win streak to start the season since the 2013-14 season when Indiana started 14-0. Moren is happy with the win streak, but her biggest goal is to make sure this team stays focused on the task at hand and doesn’t have a letdown.
“I wouldn’t say we don’t take pride in it, because of course we do,” Moren said. “I think for the most part right now we’re just focused on a game at a time… We go into tomorrow night’s game, hoping we don’t have a letdown.”
Game winner ‼️‼️‼️ pic.twitter.com/ajrePILXaN
— Indiana Women’s Basketball (@IndianaWBB) December 3, 2018
Patberg also had an incredible week of basketball. Last week, Patberg averaged 23.5 points, six assists, five rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. She also shot 51.9 percent from the floor and 80 percent from beyond the arc. All of this earned Patberg a spot on the Big Ten Player of the Week Honor Roll.
“Ali’s a wonderful player. She’s great to play with,” Penn said. “She does a lot of things that are not on the stat sheet.”
The Hoosiers are back at home Wednesday to take on the Butler Bulldogs. The Bulldogs are a perfect 6-0 on the season and are coming off a dominant performance against the Ball State Cardinals.
Butler is led by senior Whitney Jennings, who’s averaging 15 points per game. Jennings is a native of Logansport, Indiana and played her high school basketball at Logansport High School.
The last time Jennings was in Bloomington in 2016, she scored 22 points as a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Now a member of the Butler Bulldogs, Jennings will have one more opportunity to play at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
“When she was a freshman at Iowa, I remember her coming into the Hall and having a big game,” Moren said. “I would hope that we do a better job of knowing what she can do.”
The Hoosiers start a short two-game homestand against Butler and Missouri State on Sunday. After that, the Hoosiers will travel to Puerto Rico for three games in the Puerto Rico Classic.
The status of freshman forward Aleksa Gulbe is up in the air after a non-contact injury in practice Tuesday. Moren said they believe it is an ankle sprain, but she didn’t know any details at the time.
The Hoosiers and Bulldogs tip off Wednesday evening at 7:00 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.