WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Even when things go wrong for Indiana, the Hoosiers always seem to find their way back.
The No. 4 Hoosiers took down Purdue 69-46 for their 22nd win of the year but it started a bit shaky. Indiana struggled in the first quarter but eventually played like its usual self as the game progressed. In a rowdy environment and after a sluggish start, Indiana’s veteran mentally pushed the team through for its ninth win in a row.
Indiana struggled in the first quarter, coming out in an unusual fashion. The Hoosiers shot 28.6 percent from the field and were forced to play a different style of game. Purdue’s game plan was simple — limit the touches inside and make them shoot the ball from the perimeter. At the beginning of the game, it worked.
Mackenzie Holmes was held scoreless in the first quarter and attempted two shots in the first half. Indiana attempted a 3-pointer 16 times between the two quarters and it was clear that Purdue’s plan was working. Even with the Hoosiers caught off guard, they still managed to hold onto the lead. Indiana was up four at the end of the first and up five at halftime.
The Hoosiers’ talent was able to keep them afloat until the third quarter when Indiana suddenly took complete control of the game. The third quarter saw the Hoosiers outscore the Boilermakers 19-2 while forcing them to shoot 1-for-17 from the field.
Holmes was able to find her groove with 11 points in the quarter and even made a rare 3 in the process. Purdue’s two points was the lowest amount the team has scored in a quarter this season and the eight turnovers didn’t help the situation.
Purdue never recovered from its performance coming out of the half and even with a solid fourth quarter, Indiana still was able to walk away comfortably with a 23-point win.
The Boilermakers had times to pull away but Indiana was able to focus, or as Teri Moren would say, “Pin your ears back.”
“We just stay level-headed or as coach Moren says, ‘Pin your ears back,’” Chloe Moore-McNeil said. “Just focus on the game and the task at hand.”
Even on a night when Holmes struggled early and Grace Berger wasn’t much of a factor, Indiana’s experience pushed the team through a gritty win. Moore-McNeil led the way as the main ball handler and stepped up from the outside. Sara Scalia had a quiet yet efficient 14 points and Sydney Parrish tied for a team-high 15 points.
This team's mentality guided the Hoosiers to this win. If you look at the roster, everyone knows their role and plays up when need be. Four different players had double-digit points and several players stepped up at different points. Indiana never lost its cool and for that reason, IU walks out of Mackey Arena with another win.
“We were a mature basketball team,” Moren said. “I just think there's a maturity about this group. I think they just keep their head down, they understand that looking ahead serves no purpose for us. Right now we have to continue to get better every day. There's something always inside the game that you can improve on.”
The Hoosiers have now won nine straight and continue to hold a firm grip on first place in the Big Ten. Indiana continues to look like one of the best teams in the country but now goes up against another top team in the nation — Indiana vs Iowa on Thursday night.