IU women crush Cougars in Paradise finale

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands — After back to back games against top-five teams at the Paradise Jam, it might not have been surprising if the Indiana women’s basketball team had a letdown in the tournament finale on Saturday night.

However, the 17th-ranked Hoosiers overcame a slow start to bury Washington State, 78-44, and go 2-1 in the event to match No. 2 Baylor and No. 5 South Carolina. IU beat South Carolina and lost to Baylor, while South Carolina topped Baylor.

“Our goal was to go 3-0. We had to readjust that goal (Friday) night after a disappointing loss to Baylor on a night where we could’ve shot it better,” IU coach Teri Moren said. “… We learned a lot and here’s what I did love, I loved our bounceback ability. I’ve said that before, but as I said to our kids, ‘The good teams win by six to eight points. Great teams make a statement,’ and I thought tonight once we got the lead, we kept building the lead and it was a statement game for us.”

Four players scored in double figures for Indiana, which was without starter Aleksa Gulbe, who was injured in the final seconds against the Bears on Friday. Grace Berger also did not play the second half.

Freshman forward Mackenzie Holmes stepped up with 14 points, eight rebounds, a block and an assist in her first career start.

Ali Patberg, who was named to the all-tournament team, and Brenna Wise scored 15 points apiece, while Jaelynn Penn added 11 points, but Moren was most pleased with the spark she got from her reserves.

“Once we saw our shots going in, our energy level picked up on a night where we didn’t have Aleksa Gulbe, we lost Grace Berger at halftime,” Moren said. “I loved how our other pieces stepped up in a big way — Chanel (Wilson), Keyanna (Warthen), Hannah (Noveroske) came off the bench and gave us great minutes — Jorie Allen, just the hustle plays they made. You had to be here to see it, but the hustle play Jorie had the first half, the hustle play Mac had in the second half, just from everybody.”

Indiana (6-1) finished the first quarter on an 11-5 run to take a 24-18 lead, then after the Cougars (4-3) pulled within three, the Hoosiers finished the half on a 14-0 run to take a 45-28 lead to the locker room.

IU never opened the door in the second half, holding Washington State to just 16 total points.

For the game, Indiana shot 50 percent from the floor (30-of-60) while forcing the Cougars into 18 turnovers and 27.6 percent shooting.

The Hoosiers remain on the road next week, traveling to No. 19 Miami in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

21 comments

  1. Thrilled for all the subs. Played hard, often as an all-sub unit.
    Grace was absolutely beat up the entire tournament. Took a charge, hit the floor hard, and didn’t return.
    What a courageous Hoosier.
    Women showed they are a force to be reckoned with nationally, beating the ‘tournament champs.’

  2. Great win for our team coming back from the Baylor defeat. We played this game the way a great team plays when facing a lesser opponent! Great to see the bench add so much to this victory. As I had stated after the Baylor game after reading Moren’s post game comments about fatigue being a factor, it should not have been when she had a bench that could have filled in with quality minutes giving the starters a break. If nothing else, this last game showed that the bench can be trusted if given the chance. Now I realize that Washington St. is not Baylor but, how do you know that these bench players won’t come through if you don’t give them a chance? Warthen did not play at all against South Carolina and Baylor and Allen only got 7 and 8 minutes in those 2 games? Wilson only got 7 minutes against Baylor, a team that you would have thought that her quickness would have been an advantage? Coach needs to show a little more trust with the bench when she has back-to-back-to-back games. Now this scenario will not present it’s self again until the Big 10 tournament where you could potentially play 3 or 4 days in a row although I doubt that will be the case when IU finishes in the top 4 in the conference, you can get a double bye before you play in the tournament. At no other time during the rest of the season do we play on back to back days. Against Washington St. even Noveroske played a bunch of minutes and played pretty decent. Her sheer size can be a factor if given the opportunity as was Marchese although she is not as quick as Linsey was. Being a solid backup can be very beneficial. Although I realize Moren normally only likes to play an 8 player rotation, she needs to get over that and develop this bench which could prove beneficial going forward! Keeping players happy keeps players in Bloomington! This team has quality players up and down the roster and we need to keep them all home. The new transfer portal is now there for players who are unsatisfied and we don’t need that. If Moren is smart she will start expanding her rotation for the future. The top teams in the country have deep rosters filled with quality players because they all get to play! What 4 or 5 star player doesn’t want to go to a program ranked in the top 20 every year and be a key player on that team? This is the type of program that we are right on the brink of becoming for years to come, keep them happy coach and as the saying goes, “Build it and they will come!”
    Hope that Gulbe’s and Berger’s injury’s are not serious, we desperately need them to be the type of team we want to be! Grace is an absolute stud and her style of play can be a bit dangerous for her by the way she throws herself into the fray. I love her undaunting passion for the game, it is what makes her great! Now, on to Miami and another win against a really good team! Go Hoosiers!!

  3. I think bench development and minutes will increase some throughout season and by end of season it will be a little closer to what is suggested by MC.
    Against SC IU ladies did win game. Question IU ladies were playing well and T.M. probably wanted to stay with what seemed to be working and giving best chance to beat SC.
    Against Baylor who was scoring at a fast clip, yes IU ladies ran out of gas and just trying to hang in game but at this point in season after playing SC night before Baylor was going to be very very hard to beat playing bench more or not. Same thing happened to Baylor losing to SC after playing IU night before. 3 top teams ended up with identical 2-1 records. IU ladies need to stay healthy. Berger has characteristics of Buss but bigger.

  4. T, not only bigger but more physical which is to her advantage. Berger has the same mentality as Buss had. Always driving hard to basket and taking whatever punishment comes her way. Berger, as I said earlier this season is going to be an all-time great for the Hoosiers barring any major injury! She is so much fun to watch, her mentality is what you would like to see in all IU players! Go Hoosiers!!

  5. TB was/tried to be as physical as she could with what size she had.
    I agree Berger is going to be a great one. I remember last year when GB was a freshman the lady full time big ten AA basketball play by play sportscaster was very familiar with Berger and commented on how excellent she was and going to be more than once.

  6. MikeC
    I would like to see the IU subs get more playing time as well for the reasons you mentioned. But after watching three of the best teams in the country (SouthDakota State, Baylor, and IU) in person, I am forced to admit we probably could not have beaten SouthDakota State with any other lineup than the one Teri used. I feel confident Teri will use subs as often as she reasonably can in the future so they can soon reach the level of play the IU’s starters have reached. In my opinion, they are not quite there yet.
    I don’t think the subs on this team are nearly as worried about it as you and I are. 🙂

  7. I’m not at all surprised by the Hoosiers women’s basketball teams overall performance level throughout the whole entire tournament because they’re quite frankly good enough of a team to had won the whole tournament.

  8. Walklzak96, sorry to disagree but, we have a long way to go to Be as good as Baylor. In my opinion, if we played them 10 times, they would beat us 8 times. We have a ways to go to beat a defending National Champion such as Baylor with 3 returning starters from last year. Yes, we are a very good team that may be able to compete with most teams in the country but, Baylor is a different animal. As I have stated before, I believe this is the best IU team that I have seen since becoming a season ticket holder around 25 or 30 years ago! The only team in the Big10 I think we can’t beat is Maryland which is one of the top 2 or 3 teams in the country. Baylor and Maryland are the types of program we strive to become year in and year out. NatHill, yes, I am worried because Terri simply always uses an 8 player rotation. Well, this year she is blessed with more than 8 quality players, she needs to utilize them all for this team to reach it’s full potential, simple as that. Go Hoosiers!

  9. Mike- we better hope that we can compete with the terps since we will play them twice in the regular season. Provided we are completely healthy IU and M. State will both give them trouble. Hopefully we will get Bendu back by big ten season and Im hoping Berger wont be out too long with her issues , along with Gulbe .

  10. Great news about Gulbe and Berger, Gulbe just an ankle sprain and Berger does not appear to be in concussion protocol. Better news is that IU women move up to # 14 in Associated Press poll!! Onward and upward! Go Hoosiers!!

  11. The rise of the Hoosier women’s program is terrific! I have one question: Can someone tell me why we don’t hear anything about Arielle Wisne? She played a couple of minutes in the exhibition game but nothing since. Was she red shirted?

    1. Uncle Buddy,
      Yes, the plan has always been for Wisne to redshirt this year and short of a plague of injuries, that will remain the case. Speaking of injuries, I put this on Twitter but for the none social media folks, a program spokesperson says Gulbe is day to day, while Berger is day to day, pending further evaluation.

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