IU women cruise past Jackson State, 91-51

Report written by H-T women’s basketball contributor Dylan Wallace:

Junior guard Ali Patberg went flying down the court, right up into the chest of Jackson State’s Antionette Womack as she banked in a shot, plus the foul.

By the time the shot fell, Patberg was sprawled on her stomach on the floor, slapping the hardwood in excitement from completing the basket. Patberg stepped to the free-throw line to cap off her and-one, and she missed it.

Her made free throw would have given No. 21 Indiana a 43-point lead over Jackson State. Instead, they only led by 42 with eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter, and no one was more upset about the missed free throw than Patberg.

It was that type of mentality, pleased but never satisfied, that has propelled IU to three-straight wins to begin the season. The most recent came Sunday afternoon in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall as the Hoosiers easily blew past Jackson State 91-51.

They led by 16 after the first quarter, and the lead just continued to grow from there. In these first three games, IU has outscored its opponents by 43.5 points, so Patberg’s frustration in the fourth quarter is an example of how the Hoosiers continue to work on themselves even when the game is out of hand.

“I think it’s just we have really great coaching and they just instill in us that we’re focused on us,” sophomore guard Grace Berger said. “We have really important games coming up against really, really good teams, so we’re going to work on things that we need to work regardless of the scoreboard.”

Two things that stood out to both the players and head coach Teri Moren following Sunday’s game was they need to improve defensively and with rebounding.

Jackson State shot just 25% from the field in the game and only 16.7% from three, but Moren said she was unhappy with how her guards kept getting beat off the dribble.

“I didn’t think we guarded the ball as well as we could,” Moren said. “What I mean by that is all five (players) have to be connected, but ultimately, it’s one-on-one, guard your man. It just seemed like time and time again we were watching bad closeouts and those ladies going right past us.”

IU slightly won the rebounding margin 52-50, but Jackson State was able to snatch 19 offensive rebounds. Their offense didn’t consist of a lot of fluid sets, so most of Jackson State’s shots were contested or awkward, and those created long rebounds that IU just didn’t come up with.

“We knew they were athletic and had some size on us, but coming up, we’re going to see teams that have that, so that’s going to be a point of emphasis for us in practice,” Berger said.

Berger kept referring to teams coming up on the schedule, and that’s because IU’s home-cooking is over. IU will go on the road to play Florida on Nov. 22 before heading to the Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam Tournament, where it will face fierce competition in No. 6 South Carolina, No. 2 Baylor and Washington State.

For IU to be successful, it will have to keep scoring-by-committee, which is something the Hoosiers have done this season, especially on Sunday. Five players were in double figures against Jackson State, led by freshman Mackenzie Holmes with 15 points, Berger had 14, Patberg had 13, sophomore Aleksa Gulbe dropped 12 and junior Jaelynn Penn added 10.

IU also shared the ball for 20 assists and had only seven turnovers. It’s that type of unselfishness that highlights the Hoosiers’ versatility and depth on the offensive end, and as the competition ramps up, so will Moren’s film sessions and practices to get her team improving on the areas they struggled with Sunday.

“We were intentional about putting this schedule together,” Moren said. “We wanted to get our feet early on at home, and now the challenge becomes going on the road. I would anticipate knowing the leadership I have inside that locker room and just how focused our kids are on our goals, I would expect our mindset going away from Assembly Hall would be the same.”

7 comments

  1. Very good article Dylan.
    I thought our offense was fantastic, but have to admit I wasn’t that impressed with our defense. Jackson State was incredibly athletic, but perhaps the worst shooters I’ve ever seen in college uniforms. If they had shot even reasonably well, the game would have been a LOT closer.
    Chemistry, effort, depth, and balance on this team are indeed amazing and they are an absolute joy to watch in action.
    I guess we’ll see in the next few games just how good we really are!
    Florida (3-0), South Carolina (4-0, including beating Maryland at Maryland), Baylor (3-0), Washington State (2-0), and Miami (3-0). Wow.

  2. As I have said before, this is the kind of schedule that we need and will really test us to see how good we really are! Our team is very talented but, rarely do we play these type of opponents early in the season. This type of schedule will show us where we are in the scheme of things? Losing a couple of these games will not be the end of the world but, we need to keep these games very competitive to prove our worth. We have now finished with the obligatory cupcakes on our schedule, its time to get down to work! Are we going to be among the elite in our conference or are we going to be the usual all so rans? We are going to find out? Onward and upward! Go Hoosiers!!

  3. I agree with all said, our defense will have to get better as we go on the road. Even though the final score looked good we didnt shoot the ball all that well either. I expect we will take a couple hits in the V. I. but hopefully we wont get blown out. Looking ahead I see the Florida game will be on the secn , not sure it will be on tv, but I did see it listed over on watch espn so it can be watched.

  4. These first three home games have shown us what these ladies can do against lesser opponents, now I can’t wait to see what they can do to a Power 5 Conference opponent this Friday.Talking to one of my seat mates who has been coming to games for at least two decades, they commented that Holmes look to be better than several of our former post players were during their junior years.
    Many of our bench players would have been starters for our teams six to ten years ago.
    Chanel Wilson plays as well as Larryn Brooks (our starting point guard during the Miller years) ever did, Keyanna is as good as many of the players who started during Legette-Jack’s last three years.
    Even Grace Wagonner plays as well as a few of the starters during Legette-Jack’s last year at IU.
    The recruiting over Moren’s six years at IU has taken us to a place where we have the very good problem of trying to figure out how to give everyone the minutes they deserve.
    Because once Bendu is fully healthy, we have ten players who can play starter’s minutes.

    This will be a good year.

  5. bvance, very astute observation about Moren’s recruiting. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago on this website about her great recruiting over the last 2 or 3 years. That is what it takes to maintain a high level program that we have now become. No matter how good of a coach that you have, if you don’t have high level talent, you are very limited in your possibility of great success! When you have great coaches to go along with terrific talent, the sky is the limit! This combination, absent of injury will put us in a position to compete for a big 10 title. As stated by more than one poster, the talent on this team is far and above of any IU team in the past!! The future is so bright, sun glasses are required! Go Hoosiers!

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