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'We’re just inconsistent': Indiana women's basketball looking for consistency during trip to Rutgers

The mantra throughout the season about the Big Ten has stayed consistent: the conference is stellar once again.

Every single game, no matter who the opponent, Indiana knows it has to bring its ‘A’ game to come away with victories. After another loss Sunday to No. 11 Maryland, the Hoosiers came away feeling like they didn’t put forth their best effort. As the schedule shifts towards February, Indiana is looking for that consistency it saw back in November and December to resurface where it won its first 10 games.

The next chance Indiana will get is Thursday at Rutgers. It’s an opportunity not only for a Big Ten win, but a chance to knock off one of the top teams in a conference full of good teams.

“Everybody is kind of top of the Big Ten, (Rutgers) happens to be at the top right now,” IU forward Brenna Wise said. “We’re obviously headed to the road and the road is a different beast, but we’re ready to accept that. We’re coming off a loss, so we have a little more fuel to our fire, as well.”

Part of the fuel to that fire is the notion that the Hoosiers beat themselves in Sunday’s loss to Maryland. Indiana committed 20 turnovers and shot under 40 percent. It’s a performance IU guard Bendu Yeaney said they could learn from because of the turnover problem.

It’s something IU coach Teri Moren has stressed to the team in practice this week and is something the Hoosiers will hope to avoid against a stingy defensive team like Rutgers.

“It’s always one of the number one things on our board,” Moren said of turnovers. “We have to have low turnovers because they lead to run-outs, as well as bad shots lead to run-outs. Our kids know this. It’s not like this is the first time they’ve heard us say ‘take care of the basketball.’”

A potential reason for the turnover problem could be because of Indiana’s point guard play at the moment. The last three games for Ali Patberg have not been the norm for the Columbus, Indiana native. Patberg has scored as many points (13) as she has committed turnovers.

After the Maryland game, Moren said they wanted to go back and show clips to Patberg to see if they could diagnose and fix the problem she is currently having. If Indiana can get Patberg back on track, it would go a long way in getting Indiana back to playing the consistent basketball Moren wants to see.

“We’re just inconsistent,” Moren said. “We didn’t bring the same fight and intensity that we needed to on Sunday against Maryland where we were fighting for rebounds and fighting to keep those guys off the boards, we didn’t do that. We did it on Thursday, but we turned around on Sunday and shot ourselves in the foot because we didn’t do that… I just want us to have some consistency about us night in and night out.”

After two straight home games against Maryland and Michigan, Indiana now hits the road for four of the next five games. However, while the games may be on the road, the Hoosiers will only play one team above them in the standings, as of January 30. That team is Rutgers on Thursday.

But going back to what Wise said, there is no easy game in the Big Ten. Indiana has lost three of its last four games and the Hoosiers feel as if they can be better. When asked if this team is playing “mad” right now, Wise was quick with her answer.

“Absolutely, I think we have a chip on our shoulder,” Wise said. “I don’t think we played our best Indiana basketball in our previous game and we got to get back to playing our best basketball.”

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