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'The mentality was from the jump, get on them early': Indiana women's basketball overwhelms Purdue in win

The old adage goes, ‘it’s not how your start, but how you finish.’ But Sunday afternoon, it was the first 20 minutes that proved to be the differentiator for Indiana against in-state rival Purdue.

In the end it was a 73-51 win for the Hoosiers on senior day. But after a first quarter where they led 21-13 and a second quarter in which they won 22-9, the Boilermakers didn’t have much of an answer. Aided by shooting 8-of-15 in each of the first two quarters, the Hoosiers were running away by halftime.

While Indiana dominated, frustrations boiled over for the Boilermakers. Purdue coach Sharon Versyp was handed a technical foul just before halftime, which was followed by a Bendu Yeaney layup with one second left. It put Indiana up by 21, and there was no looking back.

“That (first half) was probably some of our best basketball,” IU coach Teri Moren said. “The way we scored it, the way we stayed out of foul trouble, I thought we guarded really well.”

While the offense had one of its best shooting games of the season, the defense was stout as well. The Boilermakers through three quarters shot just 10-of-43 and scored single digit points in both the second and third quarters, finishing by shooting just 30 percent overall.

Indiana has been plagued by slow starts and not showing enough energy right out of the gate at times this season. It was very evident in its last game, a 20-point loss at Northwestern. But it was the opposite this time around.

“When we have played poorly, we’ve had the ability to bounce back in a lot of games,” Moren said. “Going down the stretch here, we’re playing for something and every game matters. They know it. I don’t know that they feel pressure, but I certainly don’t have an answer for the way why we came out and were so great against Iowa, and then why we were so bad against Northwestern, and then today we showed up and were great… played pretty well.”

Indiana was led, once again, by point guard Ali Patberg who finished with a team high 18 points. Patberg is someone who Moren says makes Indiana a completely different team when on the floor, and she showed it again. Then Yeaney came up with a near triple-double scoring 11 points with eight rebounds and seven assists.

But it wasn’t necessarily about one specific player leading Indiana. It was the team mentality of having energy right from the opening tip and not letting the lead slip even one bit. Indiana has played a ton of close games in conference play, but this was its first conference win by more than 10 points.

“The mentality was from the jump, get on them early,” Patberg said. “I think a big message was not only that, but keeping the pressure on and not let up and I think we did that.”

Moren said her team is completely different when they see shots go down early. A lot of that has to do with confidence. And when this Hoosiers team is confident, they can be very tough to beat. There have been 11 games this season when they have shot under 40 percent.

Sunday wasn’t one of those instances and it showed how dangerous the Hoosiers can be when they hit shots, and especially early.

“When our shots do fall, it’s amazing how much confidence we have and how we play off of that,” Moren said.

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