No. 15 IU women can’t complete comeback

Via our colleague Stefan Krajisnik at the Indianapolis Star

Tennessee’s Jordan Horston bullied Indiana’s senior point guard Ali Patberg on the way to the basket, pushing Patberg out of her way before making an easy layup as the first half wound down.

Horston then turned to Patberg, flexed her right arm and summarized everything Tennessee (4-1) did on its way to a 66-58 win Thursday against No. 15 Indiana (2-2).

Tennessee went away from its usual starting lineup with some players out, starting three forwards and a center to capitalize on the size advantage it had against Indiana.

The Lady Volunteers outrebounded Indiana 51-38, led by Rennia Davis who had 15 boards to go along with 19 points, two steals and a block.

“They started off big in the game,” Indiana guard Jaelynn Penn said postgame. “We knew they were going to try to take advantage of their size.”

Indiana made a surge late in the third quarter and for a good portion of the fourth and was a Mackeznie Holmes layup away from tying the game. However, Holmes couldn’t get the easy look to fall on her way to a 1-for-9 shooting performance.

Indiana continued to stay in the game after Holmes’ miss — including a three-plus minute stretch trailing 54-53 — but the shooting woes (2-for-27 from 3) continued to cost Indiana a chance at a comeback win.

Penn (14 points, 10 rebounds and five steals) showed where Indiana went right and wrong, as it was often her steals leading the charge in transition when things were going well. But she shot 0-for-7 from deep.

“That is probably too many 3s than we should be taking, especially on a night when they are not going down,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said. “That is frustrating.”

On Indiana’s final offensive possession Patberg was hit on the bridge of her nose on what Moren said was incidental contact while going up for a rebound. The injury isn’t expected to keep Patberg out of any games.

The matchup with Tennessee comes after Indiana was forced to cancel last Saturday’s game due to Butler’s struggles with COVID-19 issues.

As Indiana began its search for a new opponent, Tennessee opened up as an opportunity for a quality visitor ahead of Sunday’s Big Ten opener against Nebraska.

Moren didn’t look to use it as an excuse, but she noted the struggle that this early basketball season presents with the start-and-stop of canceled games.

“We just have to have some rhythm in this season,” Moren said.

Behind Davis, Rae Burrell (18 points) and Horston (13 points) the originally unscheduled game served as reminder of what Indiana will face in the Big Ten — a conference that it was picked to win in the preseason.

But IU enters conference play on a two-game losing streak — both coming to SEC opponents — with a loss last week at then-No. 12 Kentucky on Dec. 6.

Moren did not hold back in saying she expected more from her team in both losses as Indiana continues to build a women’s basketball program that has historically struggled and now faces the challenge of being the opponent elite programs like Tennessee seek to beat.

“We have to go back to being the team that hunts,” Moren said. “…It’s a different kind of mentality that you have to come into every game with because everyone wants to, one, show up and give you their best. And two, anytime you have a number by your name, it creates another level of energy for the opposing team.”

Despite being quick to find the flaws in her team’s play postgame, Moren was able to find a few bright spots.

Freshman forward Kiandra Browne was able to play quality minutes against a strong opponent, contributing a plus-4 in eight minutes highlighted by an and-1 conversion late in the first quarter.

The game also saw junior guard Nicole Cardano-Hillary making her first appearance as a Hoosier after the NCAA D-I Council passed a proposal deeming all transfers eligible to play this season.

Cardano-Hillary — the 2018-19 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year — wasn’t able to find as much success as Browne, shooting 0-for-2 from deep while also missing an easy transition layup in the third quarter.

“It shows the potential of the depth that we have on our team,” Penn said. “I thought (Browne) did a tremendous job bringing aggression and being physical down in the post. And (Cardano-Hillary), she’ll get her runs.”

Penn said Indiana will be back to work Friday looking to move on from the loss, and Moren finds confidence that her team’s ability to bounce back will have Indiana flexing again come Sunday.

“I’m confident in this group. I really am,” Moren said. “They’re a really good basketball team, so it’s our job to keep coaching them up… You have to believe in the work that you do.”


  1. Another game we should have won, hope this is not going to be a habit? Looking at the stats it is easy to see what our biggest problem was, shooting! We shot 31% from the floor? That is not going to get it done against good teams! I also thought we were out-physicaled if there is such a word which my spell-check indicated that there isn’t 🙂 Tennessee is amuch more physical team than we are, they pushed us all over the floor and we simply let them do it! We were out-rebounded 51-38 which is another indication of their intensity and our lack of? Not only did we shoot poorly from the field with the aforementioned 31% but we also were only 2 for 27 from beyond the 3 point line. I had mentioned a week ago about my concern for us being a poor shooting team again this year and at this time, we are! While coach Moren mentioned Patberg being more aggressive this year , as I have mentioned before, I believe she is to aggressive forcing shots when they are not there? She did that several times tonight. Moren mentioned us shooting to many 3’s tonight which was true, 27 is to many for this team. We should never shoot over 20 at the most. Almost all of our 3 point attempts were wide open where we could have stepped in 4 or 5 feet closer for a better shot? In my opinion the 3 point shot is taking over the game so much to becoming detrimental. Just my opinion? I mentioned earlier this year that we are not a good 3 point shooting team and I was hoping we wouldn’t continue to emphasize it? It is hurting us decidedly. Our shooting is going to have to improve quite a bit for us to be a better team. Taking better shots from the floor would improve our percentage. hope things go better Sunday? Go Hoosiers!!

  2. As customary, MikeC. nailed the analysis.
    I would only add that I doubt we can ever shoot any worse again, especially from 3 point range.
    And yet, through a lot of hard work, never quitting, and good defense, we had three or four opportunities to take the lead late in the game against a very good Tennessee team. Nobody on IU’s team shot well, and I think we were intimidated physically. Got punched in the mouth early and seemed to effect our shooting the entire rest of the game.
    Onward and upward!
    Go IU!

  3. One last comment.
    It appeared to me that every Tennessee player was bigger and stronger than anybody we could throw out there. They looked like a football team with really good basketball skills.

  4. Pretty much explains it Mike C. .07% that’s point zero seven percent from 3 ball on 27 attempts.
    IU Ladies lost to 2 SEC teams in a roll. IU Ladies intimidated in part of both games thinking and second guessing themselves. It seems obvious though it’s the same for all teams but for IU Ladies this season circumstances has definitely affected rhythm of play as they are type of team that needs to play games to develop team chemistry and play like a good team. IU Ladies are good players and Confidence is probably down but are going to have to play physical and cannot let really good teams push them around.

  5. t, I believe your analysis is spot on also, just like Mike C.
    We’re all in agreement here as to what happened.

  6. I’ve been saying for 3 years that the Hoosiers, who are smart and determined and put out a very good effort every time out…are the least physical team in the BIG and it really is apparent against non conference power teams like KY and Tenn. They get roughed up and get thrown off their game and stop making shots. I actually thought with Holmes developing into a solid inside presence and Gulbe being able to play outside more that this would be a tougher team.

    No reflection on Coach Moren for her game management which is very good and her players seem to really play for her, but they lack toughness and that’s keeping them from breaking into a Top 10 ranked and Elite 8 Tournament team. It will be a challenge in the conference this year…but the season certainly isn’t over. I think we all believe the Hoosiers are good enough to be that Elite 8 team, so we’re all frustrated when they fall short against tough competition.

  7. This team simply isn’t mentally tough enough to win gams against teams that are physical! Nat is certainly spot on about us being physically intimidated! As I said, we are not mentally tough enough yet to win these types of games! Go Hoosiers!!

  8. From the get go their size overwhelmed our girls , but shooting 7 % from 3 wont get it done against good teams with size. I doubt we will see a team with that kind of over matching size again this year. I just dont know whats going on with the 3 pt issue with this team, you know they have the ability but just dont get it done. On the layups that were missed our girls felt like they had to compensate for their size inside and still missed the layups. On one particular foul on Holmes the defender with one hand sort of helped/ pushed her to the floor, yet no reaction from the ref nor from the IU bench which amazed me. IU is going to see this kind of defense this season , zone, pack it inside force us from deep, this could turn ugly if the shooting doesnt change. If the coaching dont want that many 3s just tell them , doesnt seem so hard. When they cut the lead the starters were getting plenty tired by then so no surprise some layups were missed. Penn gave great effort in the comeback too bad she couldnt hit a couple 3s may have turned out different.

  9. Can anyone say Breana Wise? This team is missing a Breana Wise. A glue that held team together. Tough, rebounder, physical, though her senior year had trouble making 3s she would hit one sometimes, and she would take a charge.
    I was wrong about Patterson. A 5 star high school player from New York is not translating into college. Patterson stated she wanted to play in WNBA at one time. IU Ladies are not getting hardly anything from her. Just hype. One reason Patterson transferred out of ND was because lack of playing time. Interesting how this will play out and affects team chemistry. 2 of 27 equals 25 turnovers minus difference of stops made by IU defense…is net gain for Tennessee. Actually, IU Ladies shooting 3 ball is a good strategy for this team. However, be selective and taking a better 2 point shot works better sometimes. Instead of 27 3 balls maybe 17 3 balls and a better 2 point shot. Speaking of 3 ball BENDU YEANEY IS LIVING HER DREAM AND HAS WORKED HER WAY INTO # 6 ARIZONA STARTING LINEUP. B.Y. HAS GREEN LIGHT ON 3 BALL (says coach told her like you can shoot a hundred three balls I don’t care you are going to make some of them). B.Y. said her coaches believe in her and she didn’t have fun her last year at IU and is now having fun again. B.Y. turns out to be a big loss.

  10. Maybe, not a big loss for IU Ladies if B.Y. wasn’t happy though she was fresh off of injury. She could have proved herself at IU. However, it seems like it was a gain and evidently a positive for B.Y.

  11. Yes this was a game that was there for the taking while giving up 51 rebounds, shooting 7.4% from beyond the arc, and dishing out a paltry 4 (not a typo) assists. How many points did the Hoosiers leave on the table from missed layups alone?
    One thing I don’t understand is why game commentators keep referring to Penn as the Hoosiers best 3 point shooter. Quite frankly the numbers show that Penn has never been the top outside threat for the Hoosiers during any of her seasons with IU. Don’t get me wrong Penn is an outstanding player and has become a very good defender and rebounder during her time in Bloomington. She has started every game (107) of her career in spite of ankle and foot issues the past two seasons.

    Here are the career 3 point shooting % for this season’s starters:
    Patberg – .378, Penn – .314, Gulbe – .291, Berger – .271, Holmes – .000

    Here is the fg % for this season:
    Holmes – .600, Gulbe – .483, Patberg .429, Berger .407, Penn – .381

    Grace Berger needs to stop handing the ball over to the opposition. She led the team in turnovers last season and is well on the way to be the leader again. She had 5 really bad turnovers against Tenn. and has more than twice as many as any other Hoosier thus far. She is a 3rd year player and needs to value the ball. I think Berger is the x-factor this season and needs to let the game come to her and stop trying to do too much. She is growing on the defensive end but still has a lot of room for improvement there.
    Ok I’m done ranting.
    Let’s win the B1G!

  12. I am happy for BY at Arizona. I was never a huge BY fan although her athleticism jumped out at you. She was not a big time scorer unless she was within 5 feet of the basket. Her defense and rebounding was exceptional to say the least. I am sure she is happy where it is warm all the time. And again, I reiterate our 3 point shooting is a severe weakness of this team just like it was last year. Continuing to attempt these shots when we don’t have good out side shooters will continue to be a detriment to this team. If you want to be a good 3 point shooting team you have to recruit 3 point shooters…..duh!! Jaelynn Penn is our best perimeter shooter and the jury is still out on Cardano-Hillary? Haven’t seen enough of her yet to know if she can help us after only playing 7 minutes? As coach Moren said in her post game, “Shooting 27 three’s is way to many!” The fact is that we were intimidated by their size, simple as that! Go Hoosiers!

    1. Moren seems to think that our 3 point shooting will improve over the course of the season? Now I know she sees them in practice every day and that can be reassuring to her but, carrying practice habits over to games is not always the case? This team was not a strong 3 point shooting team last year and I don’t see this improving this year so far? Scwartzie hit the nail on the head with the stats on our shooters! It is time to understand that this is not a good 3 point shooting team, the games played so far prove that! We simply don’t have good perimeter shooters on our roster. And coach Moren is going to have to play Cardano-Hillary more than 7 minutes so that she can prove herself! Moren has a history of shorting new players minutes when they join the team? As Scwartzie has pointed out, Penn being a career 31% 3 point shooter is not going to get the job done! If you want good shooters on your team you have to recruit them, at this point in time that does not seem to be the case? As good as this team should be this year, their lack of effective 3 point shooting accuracy may become their downfall in big games against quality teams? We will see in the future? Go Hoosiers!!

      1. Cardono-Hillary came to IU as a career .289 (159 – 551) 3 point shooter at George Mason. Don’t know what to expect from her. Patberg is by far our best threat from beyond the arc. Her career 3pt % of .378 is only slightly behind Amanda Cahill’s .388 that was boosted by her .402 shooting as a senior. Cahill is the best from beyond the arc in my 14 years as a fan.

  13. This is what IU can expect to see every game pack it inside and force us from the peremiter until they show they can shoot the three. Its a form of defense that can and will be used against IU game after game. Even if IU gets hot one game does not mean it will stick the next game , seems to be the makeup of this team. Shooting 27 seems a bit much , but did they have another choice against a team with this kind of size. Another item that needs discussing is the lack of physical play of IU, teams are being very physical against us and getting away with it. Im sure it will be discussed in the film session and beyond.

  14. In big tournament last year Rutgers had strategy to be physical against IU next to almost crossing the line of dirty play. However, IU overcame that with a very solid win. However, next game Maryland didn’t play dirty at all but IU Ladies were no match physically.

  15. This % stuff from 3 is a little off the wall saying who is our best from 3. Ok somebody new comes along and they shoot only 2 3 pt shots but they hit one 50%, so that makes that person our best 3 pt shooter . In time that part of our game will get better , the law of averages, will it be good enough, only time will tell.

  16. The only way IU ladies get worse from 3 is make 1or 0 out of 27 shots. I bet % will be better because it can only get worse by 2 more missed. 6 or 7 for 27 is still bad. In Tennessee game just would have given IU around a 10 point win. I agree with T. Moren I think there are some good shooters on IU Ladies basketball team. They just need to make a few more and keep attempts down to 20 or less.

  17. With 6 or 7 IU would have beaten Tenn. They only made 7 threes to beat S. Carolina, dont know how many they shot.

  18. Maybe, an IU Ladies strategy should start each game and only shoot 3 ball for full first quarter until quarter ends unless a player gets a layup or until IU falls behind 10 points. Do this each game until 3 point % increases to at least 35%. This strategy could be used to increase confidence and shooting 3 ball efficiency. Then, after 4th quarter execute game plan.

  19. On the inside I would like to Mack work in the pivot try to draw fouls, in the B1G that finese ease it over the rim wont be there, hopefully this team will become more physical as season goes on.

  20. Speaking of getting bullied am I the only one that noticed the bullying of Mack on one foul where the defender helped Mack to the floor actually sent her sliding across the floor, yet no attention was paid to this by the officials or the IU bench.

  21. I saw it and couldn’t believe it either Steve W.
    Officials have GOT to take control of overly-physical play, or injuries are going to become commonplace.

  22. Hopefully in todays game IU is plenty tired of the bullying they have received the last 2 games and dish out a little version of their own.

  23. Which player was involved that involved Mac? Since in this day and age and things are woke and (political correct whatever that means) because it’s all about love and acceptance as long as you agree with me as GROUPS jockey for power, control and take over I will say it. Was it a racist play?
    Seen it in past on men’s side Alcindor and Benson (an elbow jockeying for position to the stomach by rookie Benson didn’t deserve a sucker punch causing serious injury). Besides Benson, other Alcindor incidents included Dennis Grey and Danny Schayes among others. My opinion about Alcindor: what a racist creep. Then, there is Kermit Washington punch to Rudy Tomjanovich. Yes, Kermit felt bad enough that in 2018 was sentenced to 6 years in federal prison for convictions of charity fraud. Just a couple examples and if problems are being seen by those watching the game in order to correct them they must be identified and solved. And no I don’t no if the physical play against Mac or other examples have anything to do with being racist being woke and political correctness works in many different ways.

  24. Dont think it was in any way racist, but as Moren alluded to ” when you have a number in front of your name” they come at you. You are a big target. So far IU has not played up to that number nor the preseason rankings for the conf.

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