Even on tired legs from Sunday against Maryland, Indiana women’s basketball was able to grab another conference win on the road against the Wisconsin Badgers, 76-53. The starting five for No. 6 IU put on a show offensively, as four of the five ended up in double figures helping the team shoot 48 percent from the field. Head coach Teri Moren was happy to see the offense do what they did Wednesday.
“It was great to see,” Moren said. “Any time that you can knock down shots, whether it’s 2s, 3s, it doesn’t matter. It’s a good thing to score the ball the way that we did tonight at such a high percentage.”
This offensive production was mostly fueled by great ball movement from the Hoosiers. Indiana ended up with 18 assists on the night, as the team aimed to dismantle a Wisconsin defense that threw many different schemes at them throughout the game. Leading the charge in this category was Grace Berger, as she ended up with 11 of the 18 assists for the team. Her ability to rebound the ball and find a teammate down the floor served as one of the primary ways Indiana scored the ball Wednesday night.
Highlights from tonight’s win at Wisconsin ⚪️? pic.twitter.com/afJAZ712J1
— Indiana Women’s Basketball (@IndianaWBB) January 6, 2022
But this offensive production wasn’t always the case early in the game. The Hoosiers struggled on against the Wisconsin defense, turning the ball over and taking some uncharacteristic shots. This was in part due to IU trying to force the ball inside to Mackenzie Holmes in the half court, where the Badgers came with a well prepared double team to force her to kick the ball out and take longer shots. However, the Hoosiers eventually found their groove on offense down the stretch.
Being the great transition player that she is, Berger was able to grab long rebounds off some missed shots from Wisconsin and make some great passes to Holmes along with Aleksa Gulbe to finish at the other end. Although she was the only starter to not score in double figures, she had a huge impact on the team scoring the way she did with her decision making and her ability to push the pace.
Ali Patberg was able to make some great passes to her teammates in transition as well. She had some moments where she passed up on a couple of 3s in the third quarter to get even better shots to Holmes, Gulbe and Kiandra Browne. Leading the team in scoring with 18 points as well, it’s safe to say that Patberg was a huge reason the Hoosiers were able to move the ball and score the way they did.
This transition offense allowed for Holmes, Gulbe and Berger to dominate a tired Badger team on the glass, as the three combined for 23 of the team’s 36 rebounds on the night. It also allowed Holmes to be more comfortable on offense, as it was apparent that the pressure Wisconsin applied in the first half did not translate to the second half. Moren said she was impressed by Holmes’ ability not only to score, but to find her teammates as well.
“I thought she was pretty patient,” Moren said. “She had a couple of turnovers. We knew they were going to double her anytime she caught it, and that’s what they did. But I thought she did a good job of getting the ball out of the double. But then there were moments where we found her, especially in the second half, and she had quick scores. That’s how you score points in the paint, by running, getting touches, and I think that’s why you see the number as what it is.”
Indiana hopes to carry this offensive momentum into what will be an exciting matchup with students back in Bloomington. The Hoosiers take on the 13-1 Nebraska Cornhuskers next Thursday back at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Nebraska has had a remarkable turnaround season thus far, and has already tied its win total from last year. Following an enormous Nebraska upset against a very good Michigan team, the Hoosiers will need to bring everything in order to defeat a very confident Husker team.