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Indiana women's basketball still confident despite Purdue loss

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Indiana suffered from another lackluster shooting performance, falling to arch-rival Purdue 56-53 in West Lafayette Sunday afternoon.

This performance comes on the heels of a poor all-around performance against Northwestern, one that Head Coach Teri Moren said they lacked the toughness and energy to win.

Sunday’s outing against Purdue was different. There was a different toughness to the team. There was a different focus to the team. And for three quarters, Indiana played good basketball.

The third quarter continues to be an issue for Indiana. Moren described it as their “Achilles heel,” mentioning that their third quarter struggles have happened many times this season. Indiana was outscored 17-11 in the third quarter and allowed the momentum to swing back in favor of Purdue.

“I thought out first half was really really good,” Moren said. “Our third quarter has been our Achilles heel and our kids know that and so we’re disappointed we didn’t come out better.”

For the second straight game, Indiana shot under 40 percent from the field. Junior guard Ali Patberg finished with two points on one-of-12 shooting.

These poor shooting percentages aren’t because of a lack of good looks. This team is still confident in their shot selection and their shooting in general. They feel they're creating open looks and eventually, shots will start to fall.

“We’re getting good shots, we’re just not knocking them down right now,” sophomore guard Jaelynn Penn said. “Our confidence is still up and we’re still going to take those shots.”

The majority of the postgame press conference was positive remarks from Moren. She mentioned several times how proud she was of this team, whether it was fighting back in the game or fighting back after a sluggish performance against Northwestern.

There was a sense of optimism from Moren even though there wasn’t a whole lot to be positive about after a rough loss at home against Northwestern. Even though Sunday marks the first two-game losing streak of the season, Moren believes they found something.

“We’ve had an edge and we’ve somehow lost that a little bit and we’ve gotta regain that,” Moren said. “I thought today we did. I thought today we played with an edge, we played with a toughness level you have to in order to give yourselves a chance to win in the Big Ten.”

While Indiana’s shots didn’t go down, neither did Purdue’s. The Boilermakers shot just 40 percent from the field and their leading scorer on the season, Dominique Oden, was held to eight points on three-of-11 shooting. Indiana also forced 15 Purdue turnovers.

“I thought AP (Ali Patberg) was terrific,” Moren said of Patberg's defense. “I thought she was dynamite defensively on McLaughlin. And I thought Bendu was just a terrific defender.”

It’s hard to win on the road in the Big Ten. It’s hard to win on the road at your arch-rival, a team Indiana beat three times last season. While the Hoosiers didn’t get the win, there’s still plenty of confidence they played well enough to win and there’s no reason to panic.

“I like the shots we’re getting,” Moren said. “We missed some really good shots today. We’ve just gotta keep instilling confidence in our kids that those shots are going to fall. There’s still a lot of season left. The sky hasn’t fallen yet. We just have to regroup.”

Indiana returns home this week for two big games against Michigan on Thursday and No. 9 Maryland on Sunday. Sunday’s loss is now the third in the last four games for the Hoosiers who are now 15-4, 4-3 in the Big Ten.

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