Senior Day, a top-25 matchup, a National Player of the Year candidate, and first place on the line were just some of the storylines headlined for the final regular season home game for the fifth-ranked Hoosiers.
Indiana welcomed in Caitlin Clark and the 22nd-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes but the Hoosiers’ fourth-quarter effort wasn’t enough as the Hawkeyes outlasted the Hoosiers 96-91. Iowa had a 24-point lead at one point, but Indiana scored a program-record 42 points in the fourth quarter to get back in the game.
— Indiana Women’s Basketball (@IndianaWBB) February 19, 2022
Things started off in opposite fashion for Indiana as the Hawkeyes rushed into Assembly Hall and didn't look back. Indiana missed its first five shots while Iowa took off and made 11 shots in the first quarter, having senior center Monika Czinano start off with 10 points in the first 10 minutes of play.
Indiana head coach Teri Moren looked for a spark but ultimately the team was down 25-11 after the first quarter. Moren spoke about their rough start and how something had to change to compete against their Big Ten rival.
“We just dug ourselves a hole in the first half,” Moren said. “We were playing catch up throughout. I was disappointed that the team that showed up in the fourth, a little bit in the third, and a little bit in the second was the team that I thought was going to show up for most of the game today. We looked a little shell-shocked in the first half and first quarter.”
Indiana looked to inch its way back as the Hoosiers kicked off the second quarter with three and-ones in a row by both senior Aleska Gulbe and senior Ali Patburg. The Hoosiers looked to capitalize but couldn't bring it within reach after 20 minutes as the Hawkeyes still held the lead with a score of 46-29 at halftime.
The Hoosiers seemed to be out of reach midway through the third quarter when Iowa led by 24, but efforts from the four seniors got IU back in the game. IU brought the game within five points in the final minute of play but a couple of late 3s by Indiana didn’t fall as Clark and the Hawkeyes escaped Assembly Hall with a 96-91 win.
After an emotional and physical game, the Assembly Hall crowd got to its feet to celebrate the four seniors in what was their final regular season game at Assembly Hall. Emotions flowed as Nicole Cardaño-Hillary, Gulbe, Patberg and senior Grace Waggoner all took time to thank their beloved Hoosier nation. An Elite Eight run and new heights in recent years has marked their names in what has been a successful time for Indiana women's basketball. Patberg expressed her gratitude alongside her teammates, saying thank you but knowing they are not done yet.
“I love playing here, so it's tough and to lose is even tougher,” Patberg said. “But, you know, we're not done at all. However many games I have left as a Hoosier, I'm going to give it my all because I do love IU, my teammates and my coaches.”