No. 18 IU women survive Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. — A spectacular start turned into a dramatic finish, but both were in Indiana’s favor as the No. 18 Hoosiers escaped with a 57-53 women’s basketball victory at Nebraska on Sunday.

Grace Berger broke a 53-all tie on a reverse layup with 30 seconds remaining, the first IU field goal in nearly 14 minutes, and Jaelynn Penn added two clinching free throws as the Hoosiers avoided an epic collapse.

“Any win in the Big Ten is big, and when you get them the road, it’s even bigger,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said. “We knew that in spite of us having a great first quarter, they were not going to go away quietly. That’s a really good basketball team. On a day we didn’t shoot it very well, we made just enough plays to get out of here with a win.”

Such a conclusion seemed highly unlikely at the outset, as the Hoosiers (19-6, 9-4 Big Ten) scored the first 12 points of the game and led 26-6 at the end of the first quarter, holding Nebraska to 2-of-17 (11.8 percent) shooting.

The lead peaked at 36-11 on a Brenna Wise basket in transition, and IU settled for a 41-23 halftime lead.

The advantage was still 50-33 with 4:09 left in the third quarter on Ali Patberg’s 10th and final point of the game when the Hoosiers’ once unstoppable offense suddenly disappeared.

Nebraska (15-9, 5-8) crawled within 51-40 going to the fourth quarter and eventually tied the game at 51 with 3:21 to play with an 18-1 run.

Indiana was scoreless in the final period until Berger’s two free throws with 2:50 left and finished shooting 30.4 percent for the game after firing at a 56 percent clip in the opening quarter.

The Cornhuskers tied the game again a minute later but could never capture the lead.

Berger, who finished with nine points and a career-high 15 rebounds, drove in from the right wing and finished on the left side of the basket to put IU in front for good.

“That’s exactly what we wanted,” Moren said. “In spite of Grace having a tough night, and she usually makes a lot of those layups she was missing today, I still wanted the ball in her hands. So we wanted her to attack off that, and she made a tough shot. A reverse is always hard in traffic, but she’s a really good player.”

At the other end, the Indiana defense rose to the occasion as Wise, who also had 10 points, took a charge to get the ball back.

“Senior, veteran, that’s not uncommon for her,” Moren said. “(Brenna) makes timely plays and is always willing to get in there and give up her body. We weren’t surprised she was the one who rotated over and took that.”

Penn, who led IU with 14 points, followed with her clinching free throws, and Nebraska could only muster an off-target 3 at the buzzer.

“Great win for us,” Moren said. “I’m glad we’re going home with this, but it was not an easy day.”

15 comments

  1. A game we HAD to have to keep a grip on all-important 4rth in BTN. Our rocket start was helped by Grace making long pinpoint passes for breakouts, rather than she or Alipat dribbling to and across midcourt.

    When Neb began to get back, our halfcourt offense went stale, stagnant and the shooters couldn’t.
    Pacing ourselves individually and collectively could be a part of this frequent malady. It appears we’re prone to pace ourselves for breathers (excusably) because of the lack of backcourt bench depth. Coach Moren in morning H-T was bemoaning the guard depth has not earned the trust of the coaches to play more minutes. Alipat (Berger & Penn) can’t play 40 minutes – “She just can’t.”
    Depth and stamina become ever more important in back-to-back or 1-day-off Tournaments games.
    With Bendu + gone, our two remaining scholly guards need to floor-mature quick in the next few games to provide those relief-rest minutes with the self-discipline to hold the fort.
    Before the year is out, our wispywillow-built walk-on, Grace II, may “come into play,” out of necessity by foul troubles and to preserve a lead. In her earlier end-game (game decided) minutes, I thought I saw flashes of a player with some quicks, a handle, and a shot, including at the free throw line.

  2. It’s time for Warthan to step up and produce! She doesn’t have to score big points by any stretch of the imagination. She simply needs to spell the guards for a couple of minutes at a time each half. How tough can this be? Handle the ball and play defense. She has been with the program long enough to understand her responsibilities.
    The team played well enough to pull out a game in a tough place to play. It’s not important to look good doing it, it’s simply important to get the job done! That, we did. Any road win is a great win! Go Hoosiers!

  3. Watching KW play might explain why she didn’t get to many minutes last year. Her and CW though a fresh make a good play at times…sometimes they miss shots (3 ball) and throw the ball away. Everyone does but sometimes it seems their negative play stands out more…especially CW. I think as a result T. Moren has been trying to play Warthen a little more. (Of course for both, CW and KW they don’t have an extended leash. After a couple mistakes they usually head to the bench. I think CW was given a little more extension of leash earlier but didn’t perform as needed).

  4. There are times when Moren is a bit short sighted in her approach to substitutions! She doesn’t use a large bench approach to begin with. She certainly has a tendency to put a player in and as soon as that player makes ONE mistake, out she comes. It has gotten to the point where it now works against her as to getting reserve players experience. Chanel Wilson has played very well at times this year but, for some reason Moren seems to have no confidence in her? It has now gotten to the same point with Keyanna? Moren recruited these girls and either she really missed on her evaluation of them as players or they haven’t been coached up the way they should have been? As I stated in my earlier post, they only need to play for a couple of minutes at a time in order to give a starter a short break. Moren has always tended to play a short bench for whatever reason? There have been times this year when either Chanel or Keyanna have played 45 seconds and have been removed immediately? How do you induce confidence in a player when this happens quite a bit? I think our coach is biting herself in the butt in her approach to substitutions? Go Hoosiers!!

    1. I can’t argue one bit with the above assessments.
      I just know this. I’ve given up five times in the last four games. Four times against Wisconsin and once against Nebraska.
      Kudos to Jaelynn for a huge steal, Grace for a great drive, and Brenna for drawing the game winning charge call against Nebraska.
      Have to give the ladies credit for somehow, someway, managing to win those two way too close games.
      I didn’t give up during the Maryland game, because I don’t think anybody in the BigTen can touch them. It will take an act of God for anybody to beat them before the NCAA tournament. And there’s a chance nobody will beat them there.
      They are currently sitting in third place nationwide in RPI ratings, with the third toughest strength of schedule in the nation. No disgrace to lose to them.
      Just hope Key and Chanel can help out more in the future. Key has tremendous speed, which we need to somehow take advantage of.
      GO IU!

  5. Another big lead nearly blown, it happened with both NW and Iowa , OT games that were lost. Nearly happened again, but even though Berger was off her shot, she did go to the reverse layup which proved to be the winner along with Brenna’s drawn charge and Penn’s two free throws made. Congrats to Berger’s 15 reb season and career high for her and team. Mary. does indeed look like a final 4 team. Their last loss came at Iowa 10 games ago who they will play again on thursday night. Even though Moren hasn’t seen fit to Put Grace Waggoner on the floor in meaningful time I would like to see it , see what she can do or cant do and not in the last two min. of a blowout.

  6. SteveW, the thing with Waggoner will never happen! Moren is so tight with playing time it’s not even funny. People including me have said they would like to see Noveroske get a few minutes a game but, that won’t happen either! Moren is a really good coach but, as I stated, I think she bites herself in the behind with certain things that hurt us. Go Hoosiers!

  7. I don’t think T.Moren missed on CW or KW. IU took the best recruit they could get at that position for their purpose. Plus IU staff trying to develop them. The problem I have seen though CW hit a couple 3’s and seemed to play fairly well earlier in season both, CW and KW…in recent games make errors and especially CW taking early 3 point shots and missing them. IU’s opponents just keep on coming putting IU Ladies in the hole. Basically, both as Mike C mentions need to focus on defense and wait for better opportunities to score (especially CW). Be more efficient in scoring rather than trying to score in a hurry or being a top scorer. Especially, 3 ball by CW.

  8. CW shooting the 3 is not any worse than Gulbe launching 3’s . Every time she[Gulbe] does Im screaming no,no,no! Can anyone here remember when she last made a 3 , I sure cant. I agree Moren gets locked in on who actually will get minutes , I dont care , none of those bench players can gain experience if you dont give them a chance, you just never know who might help the team.

    1. In B1G play CW is shooting the 3 at .077 % , has a fg % of .261 and is a liability on defense and the boards. Not exactly numbers that instill a lot of confidence in the coaching staff. She is still averaging 8 minutes per game.

  9. Gulbe shooting the 3 may not be good but she has done other things to battle and help win games.
    After seeing CW play fairly well early in season I seen her come in a game and shoot a 3 ball early in shot clock and then throw the ball away not long thereafter. CW has to quit doing those kinds of sequences. It’s important for her to take care of ball and take very selective shots, and pass for her to be effective. That’s what she has to offer on offense. I think KW is trying to do these things.

  10. South Carolina Ladies attacked UCONN with 3 ball especially at beginning of second half to hold UCONN at bay and eventually winning by 18. I think this is worth consideration for IU against Maryland. However, you can’t let it be a game time decision. You have to set game plan up the previous week or ever how many days you have and practice it as a game plan strategy.

  11. Nice theory, but dont think that would work, either you are on for that day or you are not. There were a few games when they were on but for the most part you hear commentators say “IU is not a 3 pt shooting team”. Against South Carolina IU shot 7-15 from 3 and SC was just 2-19. Im thinking IU’s defense had something to do with that plus SC was looking past IU at that time of season. Against Wis. IU was 9-27 and had to have every one of those to get back in the game, but for most part IU does not shoot it that well. Its defense, Reb. and Free Throw shooting.

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