No. 20 IU women tough out win in B1G quarters

By Dylan Wallace
Special to the Herald-Times
INDIANAPOLIS — Halfway through the third quarter Jaelynn Penn capitalized off a Rutgers’ turnover and made a fast break layup, but she landed awkwardly on her ankle and had to come out of the game.

In a season where she has been dealing with plantar fasciitis in both feet, it was a scare when Penn stayed down on the hardwood writhing in pain.

But she checked back in during the fourth quarter when Indiana was running a press attack, and Penn wanted to be in the spot where she didn’t have to move, which was taking the ball out of bounds.

As soon as IU crossed the timeline, Grace Waggoner found Brenna Wise down low. Wise kicked out to a hobbled Penn at the top of the key, and she rose up and knocked in a 3-pointer to push IU’s lead to 11, limping back to play defense.

“What does that say about her?” Teri Moren said. “She’s like the other 12 to 13 guys I got in that locker room. She will do what she has to do for her team, and if that’s playing through pain, she’ll do that. That big 3 she hit down the stretch was huge.”

Penn’s toughness, despite the ankle sprain, was exactly what IU needed Friday afternoon to knock off a scrappy Rutgers team 78-60 in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament.

Toughness such as Grace Waggoner, who played just 63 minutes in the regular season, taking multiple charges. Or toughness like Aleksa Gulbe muscling up two baskets through contact and gaining three-point plays both times in the fourth quarter.

When Ali Patberg saw Gulbe settle for some jump shots early in the fourth, she told her to attack. Gulbe followed suit and scored 13 points in the second half alone, finishing with 15 on the day with seven rebounds.

In a game where Grace Berger struggled (4-11 from the field), Moren and Patberg called Gulbe the X-factor.

“She was awesome,” Patberg said. “She was huge in the second half for us.”

Patberg, on the other hand, was huge for IU in the first half. She scored 20 points on 6-8 shooting to go along with six rebounds.

“We know what she’s capable of doing,” Gulbe said. “When she’s hot like that, we just give her the ball and she does her job.”

Rutgers made some adjustments on Patberg in the second half, switching to a zone defense and having its perimeter defenders play tighter on the ball, but Patberg still managed to finish the game with 28 points, nine rebounds and two assists.

It’s now the fifth straight game where Patberg has scored 20 or more points.

“Coaches and teammates have been telling me to be aggressive, and I’m just going to do whatever it takes to win,” Patberg said. “Like I said, they keep telling me to be aggressive, and I want to win, so that’s what I’ll do.”

It was a physical contest for all 40 minutes, and there were a lot of whistles to disrupt the flow of the game, but IU maintained a double-digit lead for a majority of the second half. The Hoosiers ended the game on a 7-0 run and held the Scarlet Knights without a field goal for the final three minutes.

Up next for the Hoosiers will be the No. 1-seeded Maryland Terrapins, who defeated Purdue in the noon slot on Friday 74-62. Maryland knocked off IU twice in the regular season, both times by double digits.

Moren said she knows her team will have to play near perfect to take down the Terrapins, and she said her team can’t foul as much as they did on Friday as Rutgers attempted 33 free throws.

IU’s appearance in the tournament semifinals Saturday is the first time since 2006 the team has reached this point. The Hoosiers’ win against Rutgers improved their record to 24-7 overall, which is a program-record for wins in a season. But those accolades aren’t something Moren and the team is focused on right now.

Moren has initiated a 24-hour rule for her team no matter if it’s a win or a loss to celebrate or reflect on what happened. IU has a little over 24 hours before it takes on Maryland at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“So, this is 24 hours after a win, we’re going to celebrate, we’re going to get ready for a good Maryland team,” Moren said. “But we don’t even — it’s great, but right now that’s something that we will reflect back, I think, after the season when we do our end-of-the-year banquet and talk about all those great moments that we had. As for now, I hope this season is long from being over, just because I have such a great group.”

33 comments

  1. Unbelievably physical game. I thought IU had one of its best game all season, and played with even more passion and effort than usual. Wagoner has brought a lot to the team, and Gulbe had perhaps her best game ever at IU.
    Maryland is awfully good, but if IU can get really hot from three, it’s not a gimme for Maryland.
    Ask South Carolina.

  2. Good opportunity for fans to make this a double header. Go to senior day at noon for the men and then head to Indy to watch ladies tonight. Got my tickets for the ladies tonight. Go Hoosiers!

  3. Forget the men and come and see the girls, they are basically the only team at IU that gives me comfort! Very good job in taking care of Rutgers yesterday. Very physical game which was hard to watch because of the fouls which seemed to be called on almost every procession. Ali was great but her continually driving the ball into double and triple teams as the shot clock is running out drives me nuts! Just pass the ball, reverse it and get the offense going! She absolutely carried us to the first half lead that continued throughout the game. Gulbe as NatHill said may have played her best game ever and it was absolutely needed. Her physicality has been exceptional this year, she has become quite the rim protector inside with her blocks! She brings that physical play from her background overseas! Grace Waggoner has been really good for us in her limited play although when we are on offense when she is in the game it’s almost like playing 4 on 5 because of her limited ability to be a threat? Her defense has been exceptional as pointed out and she brings a grittiness that has served us well. Getting by Maryland will be tough! We have NEVER EVER beaten them. They have been the class of the conference since they joined! Tough road to hoe no doubt. But, you never know, have to play our best game of the year to win! Go Hoosiers!!

  4. This very well may have been IUs best game , but tonight will have to be even better. Hopefully Penn will be ok to play and help the team. Gulbe had a terrific game for her and Moren has great trust in Grace Waggoner, doing the little things, defend and take charges,, plus giving other starters rest.

  5. I loved the presser with Aleksa and Ali Lex seemed so elated, even giddy as she should be , she was the X factor with Berger not quite herself and Penn getting injured. Hopefully Gulbe will continue to be aggressive toward the rim. I fully expect Freeze to put even more pressure on Ali trying to make things difficult for her and force her to give the ball up. I dont know if IU can pull this off , but if they can take Mary. to the limit they still might be able to host when all is said and done.

  6. This Saturday morn, checking the SEEDING PROJECTIONS … we are not getting any respect, yet,
    not compared to Northwesten, Iowa and most importantly DePaul, (which lost its last two and still projects as the 4 seed with us as the 5, our grouping to be played in Chicago – or in Bloomington if we can flip with DePaul.)
    NW and Iowa, whom we played only once each (and lost in 1 and 2 Overtimes), remain as 2 and 3 seeds, regardless of their (uhhh, lacklustre) performances last night.
    My eyesight says the recent games IU is playing better than the current NW and IA, but that is beyond mattering for the seeds. Appears we need DePaul to lose in the Big East tourney to possibly flip them to 5 with us as the home court 4.

  7. Actually I noticed NW, Ia, and IU as 3,4, and 5 respectively. So which is the more likely to happen Depaul lose or IU beat Maryl. about the same I guess. If IU comes in with their A game[ and a little luck] they could pull it off.

    Concerning Ohio State when they shoot from 3 like they did against Ia. they can beat anyone. Ask Louisville. Since they only shot 30% for the season they dont shoot like that all the time, but they are very dangerous because shooting and their size. They more than doubled how many reb Ia had.

  8. Well since I can’t find a Maryland game article I will comment here! REALITY CHECK! As I have stated in the past, we have a long way to go to not just beat Maryland but, to simply compete with them for 40 minutes! The eye test proves it, Maryland is bigger, stronger, more athletic and quicker than we are, period! Those who think that we can simply compete with them are sadly mistaken. They have dominated our conference since they entered. When you watch us play Maryland it becomes quickly apparent that we are in over our heads! We have NEVER beaten Maryland and very rarely been able to play them close for 40 minutes. Close at the half but, once they turned up their defense in the 3rd quarter, the game was over! We always struggle to score against them because as stated before, they are bigger, stronger and quicker than we are. We simply don’t have the athletes to compete with them. Brenda Freeze gets a top 5 recruiting class almost every year at Maryland. Something we NEVER get close to! Games of a competitive nature come down for the most part to one thing, you must have the athletes to compete, and since they have been in the conference, their athletes are much better than ours! Something that is not likely to change anytime soon! I thought I read the other day that Freeze has 5 McDonalds All Americans coming in again next year? Same old same old. As improved as our recruiting has become with Moren at the controls, it doesn’t come close to Maryland! We will NEVER be able to really compete with Maryland until we can match them in recruiting those types of great players! A close look at the game stats yesterday reflects the difference in the 2 programs; their bench which is a testament to their quality of players outscored ours 31-10, they outrebounded us 44-31 and they outshot us 41% to 32%. As you watched the game, even a blind man could see that we could not get an open shot. Our dribble, dribble, dribble offense could not shake free for an open shot! As good as they are, Ali and Jaelynn dribble all over the court looking for a shot while not giving up the ball, drives me crazy! Have said this before, as Bob Knight would say; pass, screen and cut and you will get an open shot more times than not. Goes back to coaching! So much for that? As good as our players are, and they are pretty good, we will NEVER be able to beat Maryland until we recruit better and more athletic players, its as simple as that! The eye test proves it time and time again. Hopefully we can get a decent seed in the Big Dance? Go Hoosiers!!

  9. Oh, and by the way, no matter how “tough” coach Moren says our women are, they are simply not good enough to beat a program like Maryland! Our athletes simply don’t match up with that many High School All Americans! The quality of our recruits needs to improve quite a bit to compete with Maryland!

  10. Mike C. That’s about as accurate as it gets. Maryland and probably pretty much any top 5 team. However, dribbling, no dribbling, screening, cutting or whatever Maryland would go 10-0 against IU Ladies. Maryland didn’t do anything special other than just played their game. Maryland had a couple gears left that they could shift into they didn’t even use.
    IU Ladies are a good solid program (in area of top 25 program). That’s about where they are. They are highly competitive there from anywhere from top 11 to top 40. There really wasn’t much IU Ladies could do other than dribbling around takes time off clock and holds Maryland under 70. Gulbe has improved much. Holmes is good, but IU has no bigs that can matchup with a team of all Americans (high level All Americans) like Maryland that puts to much pressure on guards. By the end of year that talent disparity in games that count really shows up.
    Having said this, that’s what teams like Maryland (probably less than ten of them) do to about 90% of other teams in the country. So it’s not as bad as it might look. Just 2 different levels of programs. IU Ladies are holding serve or just a little better each year. Probably a little better each year than the last. After Maryland then comes the rest of the big ten. IU Ladies are there with the other top half because there is not a lot of difference in records. The T. Moren, staff, and players are getting the most out of the talent they do have. Just need better players. Maryland is not going anywhere and is National Championship caliber program if not this year in the near future.

  11. Regardless, how good Maryland is IU Ladies can beat Maryland. IU Ladies need to make a high percentage of shots both, 3 pointers and 2 pointers. IU Ladies beat South Carolina. IU Ladies can beat Baylor and UCLA and Oregon.
    Iowa State (18-11) 57 Baylor 56

  12. T, hate to argue with you but, the South Carolina game was an anomaly! We will not beat Maryland as I have stated before for a long time for the simple reason we simply don’t have the talent to pull it off! They are better than us at every position on the floor and our bench doesn’t even come close to theirs! We have a long way to go in recruiting to be able to compete with them for 40 minutes. You are looking at this through rose colored glasses. Wishful thinking at best? The different in teams is simply talent and ours is not near theirs. Maryland is one of the top 5 or 6 programs in the country every year! Their size and quickness defensively cut us off at every avenue Saturday. We couldn’t penetrate in our dribble drive offense and we had no semblance of an offense with that approach? Ali and Jaelynn dribbling all over looking for an opening was inept! This style of offense will never be successful against bigger and better athletes. Tyra couldn’t do it and we presently can’t do it! We need a different approach? What we do now is not working against a much better team than us! As I stated before, their much better athletes will continue to dominate us until we recruit better. Go Hoosiers!!

  13. Agree. However, Dribbling was effective against Rutgers. Sure mistakes were made but still good result.
    Now Maryland. Currently, the only way to beat Maryland is hitting about 60% from field and 80% ft’s. Maryland defense makes it hard to get shots and it gets into opponents head. It takes a team shooters mindset confidence. However, Iowa State upset Baylor and yes it would be an upset just like IU upset South Carolina catching them off guard. I know Maryland made it very hard to score. However, even when IU Ladies had pretty open shots they missed them because in their heads they knew there was no margin for error which decreases chances because of unconfident nerves on open missed shots. I get it. It’s a slim chance. Though now it’s been 0 wins it’s not 0 chance. Again, Iowa State 57 Baylor 56. If IU ever bear Maryland just like South Carolina doesn’t mean they are as good that’s why they call it a major upset.

    Notable. The more IU Ladies and T. Moren are successful comes with it higher expectations. For those part of the program and those outside program.
    IU Ladies are actually having a very good solid season.

  14. I hate to admit it but Maryland is much better than IU. They find the good athletes and get them to come to Mary. IU is a program on the rise, no one can debate that. Think back to where they were just 5 years ago, they would only dream of being a 4 seed in the B1G tourney. The players wont say it but I will , our team was hurting Penn fighting the foot issues all year turns her ankle in previous game and was shooting air balls,, Patberg was hit more than once and played thru pain. Moren has tried to use Chanel she is not ready for prime time. Moren once said that Allen was the only recruit that was college ready, not so, a big disappointment in my eyes to come in as Miss Basketball.
    Even after saying that I will cut her some slack since shes a freshman, some develop quicker than others. Gulbe improved greatly over her freshman season, took a while. Im looking for the team to do well though wherever they stick us.. Go Hoosiers!!!

  15. It looks like Jori Allen was bigger in a lot of games than her competition at Bedford. A 5 star Miss Basketball she doesn’t look? My question: How does Indiana high school girls basketball compare to other states? Which states are the best in high school girls basketball?

  16. Maryland is by itself. Then, there is rest of big ten. Next year Maryland will continue to get their share of best recruits.

  17. Yes T, Maryland has a top 5 recruiting class coming in AGAIN! They have a top 5 class EVERY year. Their recruits are bigger, faster and stronger every year and most are McDonalds high school All Americans. It is very hard to compete with that! I agree about Allen, I to was expecting much more from her especially after Moren’s statement in the pre-season? I still question her playing time, she gets around 6 or 7 minutes a game? Not much time to prove herself? Another issue this year has been our lack of depth at the guard position? Yeaney’s injury and basically no show seasons from Wilson, Warthen, Waggoner and Beeler have really hurt us! When Yeaney is healthy, she is life and death to score unless on a breakaway layup. She is a defensive player only! The other 4 mentioned have not given us anything! It is amazing we have had the season we have had considering the lack of production from the backcourt bench? All min all, we really have had a nice year. Go Hoosiers!!

  18. Jori Allen averaged 10 min pg during B1G play. She also led the team in FG % (.619) during the conference season.
    How poorly (.287) did the Hoosiers shot the 3 in conference play? Read’em and weep:
    Patberg – .429
    Gulbe – .294
    Wise – .283
    Penn – .282
    Waggoner – .250
    Berger – .250
    Warthen – .143
    Wilson – .067 …. not a miss-print. (1-15)
    Allen – .000 (0-3)

    Wilson and Warthen combined to go 2 for 22. Not exactly firepower of the bench.

  19. For the very best top teams they have the 3 ball and outside 10 to 16,18 feet 2 ball to go along with inside game. IU Ladies/players just don’t have that reliable shooting as you so elegantly show Swartzie. Besides those stats it puts a lot of pressure on other parts of game including physical, mental, stress, comfort, and confidence. However it really isn’t dooms day. Just expectations rise when IU Ladies have success. IU Ladies overall are having a pretty or very good season. It would be a whole lot better with a more potent shooting team everywhere on the court. Of course most teams could say the same thing. The best teams do make shots most places on court to go with inside game.
    By the way Wilson and Beeler are no surprise to me as borderline ability level for big time or big ten. There are reasons they were 3 star high school recruits per espn.

  20. Scary stuff ahead– Ivy league has already cancelled their men and womens conf. tourney awarding season conf. champions the tourney bids. March madness is what 10 days away and can you even imagine games being played in empty arenas. The virus has been classed as at least 10 x as dangerous as the flu. Everything is on the table and safety will come first.

  21. Well, have to do the best one can. It’s debatable regarding safety comes first. However, no one has the right or perfect or close to perfect answer. But does safety come first?? Some situations, yes. Other situations to much money at stake. So, conclusion one does the best he or she can do.

  22. As pointed out by Scwartzie, we have been a poor shooting team most of the year. Especially from beyond the 3 point line. Unfortunately, I read an article the other day by some so-called expert that high success by a team depends on good 3 point shooting in todays game. The 3 pointer is paramount in team success! We have been near the very bottom of the conference stats in 3 point percentage. Brenna Wise’s 3 point shooting has dropped off dramatically from last year and as I mentioned in an earlier post today, the guards off the bench have been non-existent in that area. As good as our team is, the recruiting in certain areas has been not so good the last couple of years and we are adding basically nothing next year other than a red-shirt? We will be a very good team again next year with no very good additions. Not to encouraging to say the least for the future? Go Hoosiers!!

  23. Patterson should be good. Yes both, men’s and women’s the best teams can shoot the 3. You can tell it in games where IU Ladies work very hard and score sometimes with shot clock violations. Opponents like Ohio State especially at beginning of that game hit 3’s and OSU is not one of the best. Maryland does hit 3 point shots. Wise 3 ball and scoring average her senior season was a disappointment. Was it team make up and strategy or can someone give explanation? I would hear in post games sometimes that Wise would practice the 3 ball but struggled in games. T. Moren stresses defense but so do other teams especially like Maryland. I think when T. Moren did try 3 ball strategy (IU did tried to shoot 3 ball) it wasn’t good and that gives advantage to opponents.

  24. Seems to me there is room to pick up a good recruit if we can find one. With Yeaney, Beeler , and Wise leaving , but hopefully we can be selective and find someone who can help us.

  25. 2021 is a pivotal recruiting year for T.Moren. IU Ladies have good players in program. Recruiting has to continue. Currently, the 3 open scholarships and then Penn and Patberg will have to be replaced after next year. That’s 5 open scholarships for 2021-22 season.

  26. Maryland, UCONN, Oregon, Baylor, not sure how things are going at ND, and a few others are getting the very best high school recruits in numbers ( meaning several on each team).
    Look at T. Moren and IU. Nothing has come very easy for T. Moren and staff. T. Moren and her staff has to be very creative ( unorthodoxed) to even raise the ability level of team that is higher than it was. Good examples: Patberg after not really considering IU, when she was down after ND and the story T.Moren talked about in recent article (referred to by Swart or Steve). Then, Patberg talked to Wise about IU, Lynn Dunn telling T. Moren she needs better players, and the Holmes story. T. Moren recruiting in comparison to the best teams kinda parallels with how hard the IU Ladies have to work to score compared to those teams. T. Moren has comparable challenges in recruiting.

  27. T, your referral to “the 3 point strategy” is a bit odd? The team attempted 3 point shots when they were available all year long. Don’t think specific games came along during the season where we emphasized the 3 point shot more than any other? We simply shot them when they were available? The problem was that we were NOT a good 3 point shooting team! Here are the better 3 point shooting percentages: Patberg- .386, Berger- .300, Penn-283, Gulbe- 237, Wise- 327. The team 3 point shooting percentage is 287% , pathetic. IU is dead last in 3 point shooting percentage in the conference. We are last in the conference in 3 point field goals made per game with 3.9. We simply don’t have high quality 3 point shooters. Seems like coach Moren needs to recruit better 3 point shooters in the future? A team’s 3 point efficiency is normally instrumental to it’s success. Go Hoosiers!

  28. So… there it is ,,, decision made. The Mens and Womens NCAA tourney will be played in empty arenas without fans,,,, It has been classed as a Pandemic, not much of a surprise they had to do it.

  29. No argument from me that IU Ladies were not a good 3 point shooting team. Not good hardly at all. Recruits need to be excellent players that can also shoot the 3 ball. The best teams have at least two or three excellent players that can also bury the 3 ball well.

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