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'This isn’t a group that gives in': Indiana women's basketball looking for bounce back vs. Michigan

With the game on the line Sunday at Purdue, the Hoosiers turned to a familiar name to win the game in Jaelynn Penn.

She pulled up just inside the free throw line, albeit a bit off balance, but had a good look at the bucket. Unlike games against Michigan State and UCLA where Penn provided the dagger, it ultimately ended up being the dagger for the Hoosiers. Her shot rimmed out the Hoosiers ultimately had their first losing streak of the season.

Even though it was a “better” performance at Purdue than what IU showed in its previous loss at home against Northwestern, a game in which IU coach Teri Moren said they weren’t tough enough, it was just that against Purdue. It just wasn’t enough for a second straight game.

“I thought for the most part, our ability to bounce back after such a poor performance against Northwestern – that was what we’ve seen our group do,” Moren said. I was probably a little bit surprised that we didn’t leave Lafayette with a win, just because of how we’ve shown we can bounce back after a tough loss.”

Now with those two losses in the rearview, the Hoosiers return home Thursday night when they will welcome in the Michigan Wolverines. For the Hoosiers to turn it around, they have to get back to playing their game. That includes getting to the free throw line and getting guard Ali Patberg back on track.

Patberg had one of her worst games for Indiana on Sunday at Purdue scoring just two points and shooting 1-of-12 from the field. She also didn’t get to the free throw line. Indiana as a whole only reached the free throw line six times in Sunday’s loss.

But according to Moren, a game like Sunday is going to happen through a long season. It just can’t be a common trend if the Hoosiers want that double-bye come the Big Ten Tournament.

“This isn’t a group that gives in, we don’t feel sorry for ourselves, we realize that this is the Big Ten and it’s going to be like this,” Moren said. “I always say there are peaks and valleys and we’re in a little bit of a valley, but we have an opportunity on Thursday night to get out of that valley. I would suspect that we’ll show up ready to play, at least we better.”

Michigan comes into Bloomington Thursday looking to build on a rivalry win over Ohio State on Sunday. The Wolverines are led by senior forward Hallie Thome who averages just over 13 points per game to go along with just over six boards per game. Her matchup with Kym Royster and the Indiana frontcourt will be one to watch.

But the Wolverines will also bring freshman forward Naz Hillmon and senior guard Nicole Munger who both average double figures and help Michigan score over 70 points per contest. Expect IU guard and defensive stalwart Bendu Yeaney to draw the assignment of one of the Michigan trio.

But the defense isn’t necessarily what Indiana needs to hone in on. The Hoosiers held the Boilermakers in the fifties on Sunday. For Indiana to be successful, it needs to get back to getting up and down and scoring in the seventies or eighties. Because when IU is successful on offense, it helps in more places than just offense.

"When they can see their shots go in, that does something for them defensively,” Moren said. “I thought that reigned true at Purdue. We got on the board quick and I thought defensively we were sound… it just came down to a few plays at the end that we didn’t make, but we had good shots.”

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