No. 14 IU women hold off Rutgers rally this time

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — They say those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

The Indiana women’s basketball did not forget and did not repeat.

Just 11 months after letting a 14-point, second-half lead slip away at Rutgers, the No. 14 Hoosiers led by as many as 13 points and held on for a 66-56 New Year’s Eve road win over the Scarlet Knights on Tuesday afternoon.

“To get out of here with a win is big for our program,” IU coach Teri Moren said. “It’s big for our team and our staff. We knew the press was something that we were going to have to handle. A year ago, we didn’t do that very well here, and we had to learn a hard lesson. I thought we did a much better job tonight.

“I thought once got across the timeline we remained aggressive, and that was the difference from a year ago as well.”

It also helped that Indiana (12-2, 2-0 Big Ten) got off to a better start than in recent games, leading at the end of the first quarter for the first time in five games, albeit by only one.

The second quarter began with a more significant milestone, as Jaelynn Penn’s steal and layup made her the 27th Hoosier to score 1,000 career points.

It was the start of a big day for the junior guard, who led IU with 14 points, 12 of those coming in the second half.

A pair of Aleksa Gulbe free throws late in the first half doubled the lead to 25-23 by halftime in a nip and tuck defensive battle.

“It wasn’t all the time clean as far as offensively and just being fluid and getting shots, but that’s how Rutgers wants it to be,” Moren said. “They want to make it difficult.”

Indiana’s goal was to make it difficult for Rutgers’ Arella Guirantes, the Big Ten’s leading scorer.

Guirantes had 13 points in the first half and finished with a game-high 23, but was 9-of-24 from the field against a variety of Hoosier defenders.

“We said to our guys, ‘She’s going to take a lot of shots. They need her to take a lot of shots. Our job is to contest and make every shot as difficult as we can make it and realize she’s going to hit some of those,'” Moren said. “But I thought that Ali, going into halftime, Ali was doing by far the best job on her. Jaelynn Penn started on her, Bendu Yeaney came in and couldn’t keep her in front, so we put Ali on her and I thought Ali did a tremendous job.

“She and (Penn) went back and forth, but (Guirantes) loves the shot fake and she has the little spin move, but every time she tried to go to that spin, we tried to bring another defender in her vicinity, in her area just to make sure she knew there was a body there. We were just trying to be as disruptive as we could be with her. Still an excellent player, but I thought we did a nice job when we needed to.”

IU held Guirantes to just four points in the third quarter while methodically extending the lead.

A 3-point by Penn, followed by a basket from freshman Mackenzie Holmes pushed the lead to eight late in the third quarter, and two more Gulbe free throws gave Indiana a 46-36 lead heading to the final period.

Another Penn 3 extended the lead to 13, and the margin remained between nine and 13 points going into the final four minutes, with the Hoosiers determined to weather whatever storm Rutgers (11-2, 1-1) tried to create.

“We watched a lot of film from the last game, where we messed up,” Patberg said. “Like Coach said, they prepare us so well for each game. They prepared us really, really well for the press. We had multiple options we could look at, but coach said in the locker room it comes down to being confident that we can handle their pressure.

“A big thing was when they did make their run, which we knew they would because they’re relentless, we stayed calm. We stayed composed, and that was huge for us.”

Rutgers cut the lead to five with 1:13 remaining and had the ball with a chance to make it a one-possession game, but Grace Berger came over to make a huge block on a shot by Khadaizha Sanders and from there IU made the free throws necessary to close things out.

Berger joined Penn in double figures with 13 points to go with a team-high seven rebounds, while Gulbe had 11 points and Holmes 10. Patberg finished with nine points, four rebounds and four assists.

“This is a great win for the Hoosiers,” Moren said. “As Brenna and I and Ali were walking (to the locker room), one of the things Brenna said was, ‘This is a really difficult place to play and win.’ Night in and night out, we know that the Big Ten schedule is a grind, and whether you’re in the Hall or you’re in the RAC, it’s going to be difficult.”

On Tuesday it was made a little easier by remembering the past.


  1. This was a huge win in a very difficult place for us to play. It was a gritty tough game for us but, the girls played very determined and mentally fought their way though. The great thing about our tea is their balance throughout the lineup. We again had 4 players in double figures and Patberg was 1 point from having 5 in double figures. Great team effort all around and tremendous defense holding them to 56 points. All road wins are tough in the Big 10 and we have struggled at Rutgers in the past. Holmes continues to stand out inside for IU and needs to get the ball more often! She is unstoppable inside. We are off to a very good start in the conference at 2-0 and now have I think 3 of our next 4 games at home. Go Hoosiers!

  2. Indeed , a tough place to play and win. This game was all about defense. A very tough and gritty effort by the IU women against their full court pressure the entire game. They did their best to hold Rutgers top scorer from going wild , still got 23 pts.

    That was also a very interesting game with NWestern beating Maryland rather handily. Just goes to show you cant take anyone for granted this year in the big ten or you will lose.. The rest of the conf. has finally caught up to the terps it seems. They will have to work really hard to win it this year.

  3. Jeremy- So true, I have to say Im more than impressed with Pulliam [sp]. Not surprising she made the USA team. As I said before there could be half a doz. teams at the top fighting for the B1G. Purdue, Mich. and Mich State when they get Colley healthy. Also Ohio State although they are up and down, but have shown they can deliver the knockout punch as evidenced vs Louisville, and more recently at Minn.

  4. B1G top 20 RPI 1/1/2020

    9 – Indiana – SOS 9
    13 – Northwestern – SOS 35
    14 – Purdue – SOS 15
    16 – Iowa – SOS 14
    18 – Ohio State – SOS 2

    It’s going to be a battle for every team every game this season.
    Go Hoosiers!

  5. This wont hold any water but still has interest. Maryland came into the league in 2014-15 and has pretty much owned the conf. and has been the team for others to gauge by. The recent defeat by NWestern stirred my interest. In checking the archives I see that now of the 13 other teams 8 have now defeated the terps and of the remaining 5 yes that includes IU who has not beaten the terps. Will this be the year?
    2014-15—- 0 losses in the conf.
    2015-16—-2 ohio state
    2016-17—1 ohio state
    201-18—-5 mich. st.- mich. -minn.- purdue– OHIO STATE wins B1G Tourney
    2018-19—- 4 rutgers–mich st.– Iowa twice and B1G Tourney

  6. I happened to watch the Florida State vs Syracuse women’s game . Im trying not to spoil it for anyone wishing to watch or the fantastic ending clip which is up over on the espn,com/watch ncaaw section. Because of the “degree of difficulty” is the best finish to a game I have witnessed men or women.

  7. Charlie Crene’s latest Bracketology has the Hoosiers still a # 4 seed. He has 10 Big 10 teams listed this week, the most of any conference in the country. He has the SEC and the ACC with 7 teams each. It is obvious in his opinion our conference as the strongest in the country. Great home schedule this week with 2 games, Monday and Thursday evening. We need to get out like we have the last 2 games with 5,000+ and 6,000+ in attendance! Go Hoosiers!!

  8. Something else Ive noticed is that Holmes has already become a crowd favorite at the games. Fan reaction to her making a basket seems louder than others. Not too surprising considering the fact IU has not had a post presence like her at least since Ive been following the women.

  9. Steve W, I have been a women’s season ticket holder for 30 years and Holmes is the best inside player I have seen down there. Some would point to Jill Chapman as being better, I would argue that! Jill was 6′ 5″ and kind of a plodder but, effective. Mackenzie is more athletic than Jill was and very smooth around the basket and runs the floor exceptionally well. Holmes is the “Real Deal”. I’ll take her over any center we have had down there in the last 30 years! Go Hoosiers!!

  10. MikeC– I love your “Real Deal” input on Holmes and am so happy she has adjusted to the college level so quickly some dont as we have seen. But Mac in my opinion will only get better and better as time goes by and she becomes more experienced. What a weapon she is to bring in off the bench. Its great fun to hear what announcers say when they comment on her , getting rather giddy with what she can do. The one doing color on the Rutgers game said “she is not quick but sort of Larry Birdish” that was surprising but mostly on the money.

  11. Bird’s the Word. Exactly. (I have thought that myself) Sometimes one may not agree with T. Moren the way she does things. However, she is a coach that seems to do things her way. Holmes is a great example of herself blossoming in T. Moren system.

  12. Maybe– Just keep in mind these were unbiased comments made by pro rutgers announcers. Another comment that was made was ” we might be looking at freshman of the year” a comment that has already been expressed by more that one person on this forum including yours truly.

  13. Agree. Holmes matches in T. Moren system and coaches and teammates as well as it could be (just about perfectly)

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