Ali Patberg sparked Indiana's best 3-point shooting performance of the season Sunday, leading the way for the Hoosiers to claim back-to-back Big Ten victories with a 74-49 win over Wisconsin.
Three-point shooting was the difference in the game, as No. 19 Indiana shot a season-high 52.9% from downtown compared to Wisconsin’s 0-8 night from 3. Patberg was 5-for-7 from long distance. For the players, confidence is key to be consistent from beyond the arc.
“We put in the work constantly, we haven’t stopped,” Patberg said. “On games we haven’t shot well, we still were confident. We’re just taking the looks we get and stepping up and hitting them.”
Patberg finished the game with a team-high 21 points while also dishing out five assists and grabbing three rebounds. The senior seems to be finding her groove, as this is now back-to-back games with 20-plus points.
Cardaño-Hillary → Patberg
— Indiana Women’s Basketball (@IndianaWBB) January 10, 2021
It was a bit of a slow start for the Hoosiers offensively, as the team only seemed to get layups to go early on. Sophomore Mackenzie Holmes picked up right where she left off against Penn State, as she scored the first five points for Indiana.
The outside shooting continued to be a thorn in Indiana's side early on — as has been the case most of the season — so IU wasn't able to build much of a lead. Then the narrative changed starting in the second quarter.
The Hoosiers started out hot in the second quarter, as it looked like they would pull away from Wisconsin early on. But the Badgers responded immediately with a 6-0 run of their own which immediately forced Indiana into a timeout. After the team got to talk over the gameplan a bit, Patberg and Holmes got IU into a rhythm. The two combined for 11 points in the final four and a half minutes to give Indiana an 11-point advantage over the Badgers at the half.
Indiana would take that confidence from the end of the second quarter right into the third. The Hoosiers went on a quick 9-2 run to open things up and extend their lead to 18 points. Some big-time 3-pointers from Patberg, along with some contributions from Grace Berger, helped the Hoosiers get a comfortable lead on the Badgers. IU players talked about adjustments that need to be made before going to execute them out on the court.
“At halftimes we try to talk about the things that did not go so well in the first half,” Holmes said. “Or things we’ve done well to continue to do, but I think starting out fast is something we are trying to work on.”
IU rode this momentum into the fourth quarter, leading by nearly 20 points almost the entire way. Head coach Teri Moren was able to get some fresh legs into the game for the Hoosiers, and there was no shortage of offensive production.
Indiana would outscore Wisconsin by 10 in the fourth quarter, and only held the Badgers to 10 points. This stellar play despite a slow start led the Hoosiers to another conference victory. For Moren, beating a team like Wisconsin always comes with a challenge.
“One thing about Wisconsin is they’re never going to stop. They’re never going to quit no matter what the score is,” Moren said. “Jonathan [Tsipis] and his group do a tremendous job just fighting and trying to stay in games when there is a deficit.”
Indiana now shifts its attention to a rivalry showdown with the 5-4 Purdue Boilermakers this Thursday at Mackey Arena. Purdue is currently on a two-game skid against some very good teams in Michigan State and Maryland. The Boilermakers battled to the end against a talented MSU team, so the Hoosiers must be prepared for a four-quarter rivalry battle.