No. 15 IU women give one away to Wildcats

“We made mistakes.”

In three words Indiana sophomore Grace Berger summed up the No. 15 Hoosiers’ 71-69 overtime loss to Northwestern on Thursday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

For the second straight game, Indiana couldn’t maintain a double-digit lead in the second half. For the second straight game, it couldn’t hold a three-possession lead in the final five minutes of regulation. And for the second straight game, the Hoosiers lost in an extra session, the first time they’ve played back to back overtime games since February of 2009.

On Sunday it was at Iowa in double overtime after a seven-point lead slipped away down the stretch.

This time, the advantage was eight.

Over the final 4:36, IU made just one field goal, committed two turnovers and got only two stops.

It was a small sampling of a laundry list of errors highlighted by 21 total turnovers leading to 22 Wildcat points.

“This is on me, it’s on our staff, it’s on our players,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said. “Game should’ve never gone into overtime, just like the Iowa game, and we’ve got to look at ourselves and accept this and hopefully learn from it.

“I thought we learned some lessons from the Iowa game, but we’ve still got some work to do in learning hard, hard lessons. So just really disappointed.”

The disappointment was only compounded by the way the Hoosiers played to put themselves in that position.

Northwestern (15-2, 5-1 Big Ten), which has now won three straight against Indiana, got out of the gates with an 11-2 lead. It was still 17-9 when IU freshman Mackenzie Holmes banked in a long 2-pointer to beat the first-quarter buzzer, the start of a 13-1 run that pushed the Hoosiers in front.

Holmes had 11 of her career-high tying 22 points in the opening half to spark the Hoosiers (14-4, 4-2), who went from passive to aggressive in the blink of an eye.

“We got the lead because we kept pushing the pace,” Moren said. “I thought that was good. I didn’t think we did that against Iowa. We sort of allowed their passive zone to slow us down. Our tempo, our pace, our willingness to push the ball was better tonight.”

With the Wildcats playing a matchup zone defense, the Hoosiers found a rhythm over the next two and a half quarters, aided by Holmes and Aleksa Gulbe (eight points all in the third quarter) in the post.

The lead was 10 after three quarters and reached 12 early in the fourth at 57-45. It was still 59-51 after a Holmes basket with 5:54 to play, but Indiana would go scoreless for more than four minutes as Northwestern rallied.

How things turned around so suddenly was difficult to explain.

“I think (it was) just falling apart, and it’s not just one person,” said Berger, who had 16 points. “We fall apart as a team, on defense and offense, and we’ve done that the past two games. So we just need to figure out how to keep our composure when things get really tight and stressful at the end.”

It looked like IU might do that when Berger hit a pullup jumper then got a rebound and was fouled with 1:13 left. She split the free throws for a 62-57 lead, but a Wildcat layup was followed by a turnover from Ali Patberg, who had eight of her 12 points in the second half. Veronica Burton scored and was fouled by Jaelynn Penn, then made the free throw to tie the game.

Indiana got the last shot, but Holmes’ fadeaway from 12 feet at the buzzer was short, and overtime ensued.

Again the Hoosiers looked to have dodged a bullet as a three-point play by Holmes gave them a 69-65 lead with 2:05 left.

Indiana then got the stop it needed, but Holmes had the defensive rebound stolen from her, eventually leading to an Abi Scheid 3 as the IU freshman was late getting out to the Wildcats’ best 3-point shooter.

Penn then committed a turnover and fouled Burton, who hit both free throws for the lead.

Berger missed a pullup, and eventually Pulliam, who was held to 12 points on 5-of-22 shooting after averaging 27 points a game against Indiana the last two years, hit one free throw with 12.7 seconds left.

Indiana’s chance to tie or win went up in a puff of smoke when Berger tried to force a pass to Holmes in the lane. Jordan Hamilton made the steal and dribbled out the clock.

It was a fitting end for the mistake-prone Hoosiers.

“Two things went wrong on that play, and that was because of our lack of execution,” Moren said. “First, we never make passes from halfcourt, which is really where Grace was or maybe a couple steps over, so that was our first mistake. Second mistake was Aleksa Gulbe went too quick on her inscreen for Mac to come around, so the timing was not what it needed to be. Then Grace just made a bad decision. She wasn’t open. Grace needed to keep it and try to go make a play inside the lane.

“On us, our lack of execution. That one’s on me, because I’m not preparing them well enough in those moments and I have to help them be better.”

Indiana knows it will have to be better at No. 20 Maryland on Monday.

“It’s the second game in a row that we kind of let the pressure get to us and messed stuff up, didn’t take care of the ball, get stops, get rebounds, make shots,” Berger said. “And we’ve got to figure that out.”


  1. Grace Berger makes me proud.
    When the going got tough, she isn’t afraid to take shots and is willing to take responsibility when things don’t work out.
    I’m afraid several others tend to keep looking for somebody else to make the big play towards the end of a big game or overtime.
    Love to pull one out at Maryland and then I’m pretty sure we don’t see any of the teams ahead of us again.
    Many of them will see each other I assume.
    Onward and upward.
    GO IU!

  2. Very poorly played game by the Hoosiers! Northwestern scored 22 points off of 21 IU turnovers. That was the difference in the game. This is now 2 games in a row that were very winnable and we let them slip through our fingers because of poor guard play. Patberg and Penn who should be leaders on the court because they have the ball in their hands more than others are doing a poor job of leading! Poor decisions at the end of both games were crucial! This team is not mentally strong to say the least. What Berger said in the last paragraph is true. It does not any easier as we now head to Maryland this coming Monday. This team is to good to let these types of games get away from them. Nice leads towards the end of both games and we let them slip away which is showing poor maturity when we need to step up and grab the game at the end!

  3. Mistakes, yes but for me it was Gulbe. It got to the point I did not want to see the ball in Gulbes hands , auto to . Im sure that crazy pass of Bergers into Holmes from that far out is gonna get to holmes against a defense like the cats,, silly and stupidly ridiculous decisions helped cost this game. Im positive that was not the way the final play was drawn up.

  4. Northwestern Ladies seem to always be a difficult game for the Lady Hoosiers. IU Ladies choke playing not to lose and no one willing to step up especially guards. Pressure of ranking and big ten championship is in their heads rather than just continually aggressively keeping their head into game they are playing. IU Ladies are quitting to early in games playing not to lose. Nerves, stress, tightness are getting best of IU Ladies. Where is the defense? IU Ladies have hit a wall that showed a glimpse of it in UCLA game and now past two games that should have been wins by losing solid leads. IU Ladies quit executing and both, Northwestern and Iowa continues to play handling pressure of game.

  5. Like to add one thing about last night’s game. This is the best Northwestern team in years! However, that does not take away from our collapse at the end of the last 2 games. Mental toughness is the key. Great teams have it, with us in tight games, we have not seen it. We hold their best player to half her average (Pulliam, 22 pts a game, 2nd in the conference) and we still can’t win? We have a ways to go to compete at a high level in this conference! Go Hoosiers!

  6. IU Ladies are competing at a high level. Competitive, but lost/gave away two in a row. I expect a loss at Maryland but a win would equal a little bit of redemption.
    Stated earlier this IU Ladies team had a lot of upside. Well, now they really do. That starts with playing entire game and playing through til the end (as football coach T.A. Says many times) finishing game.
    It seems a pattern for T.A. teams they hit a mid season wall until they get a second wind finishing strong …seems every year. Currently, IU Ladies have taken step backwards kinda being not much better than before this year. (Somewhat better). However, as disappointing as it is giving away two games from IU view, (Iowa and Northwestern feel they took game to IU and won) it is 2 overtime losses. May not be as bad as it feels currently. IU Ladies response is important to move forward and upward.

  7. Just finished listening to coach Moren’s post game comments after the game. She stated that Holmes as good as she is, fatigue is a big issue with her as the game moves along. Said her inability to get out on Scheid when she hit the 3 pointer late was huge. Said she couldn’t get out to her because she basically was sucking air. Her other comment was the carelessness with which we handled the ball late in the game was instrumental in the loss. If you listen closely in what she said you could get the idea that she is very disappointed in lack of leadership on the floor. If you get a chance bring up her postgame and listen, very interesting.

  8. Yes I always go there first after home games, sometimes those are up on facebook first. Anyway along with what Mike mentioned Moren also said “we need to get her more minutes but have to get her in better shape” currently she fatigues rather quickly. Dont take this the wrong way cause Im a big Holmes fan. So you depend on a freshman in a huge game when your so-called leaders cant get it done[ Patberg Wise] Wise has basically disappeared in the last two games , our only senior who should be playing like one and leading. This team needs a self-imposed meeting and take a close look at themselves, and not just talk about it but get it back together like when they were in the Jam.

  9. Holmes and expectations. Towards end shot fade away from contact. Going towards contact might have created foul.
    Agree. Team meeting facilitated by maybe, assistant coach J.C.
    Observation: Patberg giving a big hug to Holmes during end of Northwestern game to the point Holmes has her arms up in air. My point is Patberg sometimes emotionally overdoes trying to be leader to the point of uncomfortably creating unfocused excitement for both, her and player. Ali needs to control herself while being supportive of herself and teammates.

  10. Dont know how much reb. help if you cant score the ball. Wise is normally a good 3 pt shooter, 0-1 and 4 TO Patberg 0-0 5 TO Sorry but I still call that subpar and MIA. Team 2-8 from 3 25%. Its also not likely this team will reb at Maryland on Monday, but I hope Im dead wrong.

  11. All is not so well in Shangri-La….? Gosh, I was thinking the women’s program never gave away games or missed jumpers.

    No leadership on the floor? That also sounds of a familiar criticism in the current flux of our men’s program. Of course, Teri Moren is dealing with a team entirely of her own recruits while Archie is fighting a bit of a disjointed roster the result of a coaching/regime change.

    Isn’t no leadership on the floor sort of on the coach? One thing I can say about Archie is that he never passes that buck. The ultimate leader is the coach. Having no leadership on the floor is on the coach. Having no shot makers is on the coach. Poor execution is on the coach. Poor free throw shooting is on the coach.

    Just when you think a coach is the next best thing since sliced bread….this sort of thing happens! Maybe a slice of humble pie for some who throw Archie under the bus before he’s even at IU long enough to have an entire team of his own design assembled.

  12. IU Ladies overall have played a couple best teams in country and several some high level level teams. So they have some good wins. Now, losing leads in last two games IU Ladies basically give two games away. Plus IU Ladies will probably lose at Maryland ranked in top 20 in country.
    Yes, IU Ladies are disappointing right now. However, saying this losing to 2 pretty good teams in double OT and again in 1 OT and will probably lose their next game remain a good team. The question is how they will respond.
    I wonder if trying to go inside to Holmes and Gulbe has messed with IU Ladies rhythm and not maintaining their pace for game. It seemed IU other players (guards) were hesitant and unconfident, a little confused on what they were doing.
    T.Moren in post game was pretty specific. She did put some blame on herself and coaching staff but took no prisoners identifying players/team (those who played most) regarding their play.

  13. They continue to get off to slow starts , maybe thats partly due to bad play by some members. For at least the last 3 games its been slow starts. I would like to see them get off to a fast start on monday.

  14. I noticed UCLA had their first loss of the season double OT to USC who is unranked 9-8 won loss. I also noticed that Onyenwere did not play and it didnt say why.

  15. Well, that explains UCLA’s loss in a nutshell. She is one of the best players in the country! T, don’t think going inside to Holmes has anything to do with IU’s mis-steps lately. If anything, the inside play has improved IU dramatically this season. We are all sitting in front of our computers trying to figure out what is wrong with our team? It is as simple as taking care of the ball avoiding turnovers and getting mentally tough at key times! Moren addressed it in her postgame, simple as that. We are certainly capable of turning this around if our concentration improves. And BTW, H4H again getting on the women’s post and turning it into a men’s basketball issue….Good grief. As people say now a days, keep that crap in their own lane. Let us women’s fans have our say about our team without polluting the air about the horrid men’s team! Go Hoosiers!!

    1. And BTW, H4H again getting on the women’s post and turning it into a men’s basketball issue….Good grief. As people say now a days, keep that crap in their own lane. Let us women’s fans have our say about our team without polluting the air about the horrid men’s team!

      Thanks for the chuckle, Crean apologist. Take some of your own advice and stay off the men’s threads when you simply bring unfair negativity thrown at a coach with only two fully completed seasons.
      Archie is still dealing with cleaning up the former bozo’s dysfunctional wrecking yard; recruiting which ignored our rich basketball state and had nearly disenfranchised all high school programs/coaches statewide, talent dumbed down to the use of preschool instructional cue cards used to deface McCracken and holdover roster members found by Coach ‘Galileo-dipo’ wading through a universe of mostly roster projects not from the ‘Planet Lovetron’ who forever believe they are “ballers” because of NBA ancestry or Galileo’s friendship telescope pointed at Doc Rivers or some other NBA connection to the East.

      So take some of your own medicine and keep it fair on the men’s threads (or just stay off them) before you don the rose-colored glasses and paint by ‘What’s our ranking?’ number with a set of Tommy & Teri crayolas over here. I mean, it is just a number. A #1 through #25 Crayola Book with free set of cue cards doesn’t necessarily add up to Final Four.

      1. ^^^You know I’m kidding with all of that…You’re more than welcome on the men’s threads, MikeC. Come one, come all.
        And I certainly welcome t. t (‘t’ for ‘teri’!) is a blast and he knows his hoops.
        But beware…H4H is lurking just off shore the dark men’s waters while you try to cool off that hot ‘Teri Tan’ from all this wonderful women’s sunshine….Bring your inflated beach ball and the unfair negativity to a men’s coach barely out of the gate and has yet to roster a team of his own design, I’ll send a return postcard with some bite. I might even remind you that the home court you play on is graced by five banners requiring a jock strap to sling them up.

  16. I am all in going inside 100%. There seems to be more focus on that now because earlier in season comments were wanting IU Ladies to go inside more. Agree about post game comments by T.M. and taking care of ball and getting mentally tough and sustained finishing games as T.A. says about football IU. My point was kinda transitioning learning experience adjustment under a little pressure (and really not a lot) to focus more inside. Don’t no if it’s got into Ladies heads that shows up as game wears on into end of game. Yes, it is totally correctable but the guards have to show up and help finish games as well as inside play. Where was Penn in Northwestern game? 3 points.

  17. As in past I have noticed T.M. teams dip or go into losing streaks or slides this time of year. Then, they fight back with strong finishes with winning games/streaks and finish strong. Slow starts have been a problem for several games this year. However, it was reasonably corrected in Northwestern game.

  18. Because of IU’s improvement on the inside, we will be seeing more zone they will pack it inside until we improve our shooting from outside . It seems several games of late commentators talk about IU not being a 3 pt shooting team, that needs to change.

  19. Apparently Onyenwere had sprained an ankle earlier in the week and was in street clothes on the bench during the USC game. I agree she is one of the best players in the country and why I researched this. Also of note is the notice of Destiny Pitts transferring from Minn. after being suspended for 2 games. Only thing given on this was improper “body language” whatever that means. Without Pitts Minn has lost the last 2 games including the home loss by 1 pt to Iowa,,, most likely had Pitts been available would have won that game. There is even greater importance now on IU playing at Mary. on monday a loss will greatly reduce their chances at the conf. title and may knock them completely from the rankings.

  20. H4H, I have not said anything negative about coach Miller’s coaching ability for the men’s team on this website! You must have me confused with some other so-called fan? Have no idea what you are referring to? I have been a women’s season ticket holder for about 30 years but, do not attend the men’s games. Last time I saw the men play, Stew Robinson was playing, got tired of fighting big crowds. I of course watch all men’s games on TV and occasionally post a comment on a specific game. Men had a nice win last night, good for them! Go Hoosiers!

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