BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — It didn’t go the way many expected. No. 1 seed Indiana fell short in the second round of the NCAA tournament, losing an all-time thriller to No. 9 seed Miami (FL) 70-68. Indiana lost the game on the last possession, something that already happened to this team earlier in the season.
The Hoosiers had one of the most successful, if not the most successful, run in program history. The conversation about being a championship contender was there since day one. They lost two regular-season games while also setting the single-season program record in wins. Indiana was undefeated in Assembly Hall all the way up until the final shot against Miami. The highest ranking in the AP poll this program has ever seen, outright Big Ten regular season champions, and the first ever one seed in program history, all while having a coach of the year candidate and two All-Americans. To say that Indiana was dominant is honestly an understatement. They were special.
This team reached new heights that had never been seen before in Indiana women's basketball. They changed the history of the program. With everything that they had already accomplished, it felt like a chance at a national championship was inevitable, something that was meant to be, but the story took another turn.
Indiana had multiple chances in the final seconds against Miami. Two shots that you’d think would keep Indiana’s season alive. The end of their 2022-2023 season came in a bitter fashion but at times, that’s just the game of basketball.
Forty-nine seconds left on the clock, all tied up at 65. Indiana has an open lane and Chloe Moore-McNeil drives toward the basket for an open layup. She goes up with the left hand, but it's a little bit too strong. It hits off the backboard, no good.
Twenty-one seconds on the clock, still a tie ball game. Destiny Harden misses two free throws to keep Indiana’s hopes alive. The Hoosiers get the rebound and hand it off to Grace Berger. She runs down the court and takes a midrange jumper, the shot she usually makes, but it hits off the rim. Miami grabs the rebound.
On any other night, Indiana makes that shot 10 out of 10 times but on this specific night, the ball didn’t find the end of the basket.
“They missed uncharacteristic shots,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said. “Grace Berger had a Dirk Nowitzki pull-up that she makes all the time, we talked about it in shoot around. Chloe had a left-handed layup, left-handed kid,that's heartbreaking because they did what they needed to do to win the game.”
Indiana already saw this type of ending before. The buzzer-beater at Iowa, the semi-final loss to Ohio State, and now against Miami (FL). Two of those losses came with less than three seconds left on the final shot of the game. Indiana was near perfect for most of the year but in its four losses, it just happened to come down to one or two possessions.
The Hoosiers lost those four games by a combined 12 points. Their season came down to less than 10 possessions all year. Sometimes the game can be cruel.
“These guys have been so good,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said. “It's at times frustrating because I think it's human nature for us to always remember the last game…As we move forward, We're going to remember that, 12 points.”