No. 14 IU women pull away from Ospreys, 72-45

There were times on Saturday night when Indiana looked like a team that had been on the road for two weeks and was still adjusting to winter in the Midwest instead of the tropics.

And then there were the times when the Hoosiers looked like the 14th-ranked women’s basketball team in the country.

The latter was greater than the former as IU pulled away from North Florida for a 72-45 win in its first game at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in three weeks.

A 17-0 blitz in the first quarter, an 11-1 third-quarter burst, a 10-0 spurt spanning the end of the third and start of the fourth quarter and another 11-1 run later in the fourth were more than enough for Indiana to get the job done after a road trip that started with a game at Florida, three in the Virgin Islands and another at Miami.

“I didn’t think it was a clean game by any stretch of the means offensively for us tonight, and we know this, we’ve played much better,” IU coach Teri Moren said. “We have to get back to school here and on some sort of a schedule. I think we’re a much better basketball team when we have a schedule to follow and our kids are in class and they’re worried about not just studying but also a little bit about basketball.

“Happy to be back (home) and glad we could get out of here with a win.”

Senior forward Brenna Wise was a big reason why the Hoosiers (8-1) did so, posting season highs with 22 points and nine rebounds.

She had four points in the first quarter, which started and finished with a made 3-pointer by the visiting Ospreys (5-5), but in between Indiana scored 17 straight points.

Wise added six more as the Hoosiers labored through the second quarter, shooting just 4-of-10 overall and 0-of-2 on 3s with six turnovers while yielding three 3-pointers to take a 28-19 halftime lead.

“(It was) not necessarily travel fatigue,” Wise said. “North Florida’s a great team, and we needed to sit down and do a better job defending. We definitely could’ve done a better job on the offensive glass and defensive glass, but we turned that around. We came into the locker room and identified things we needed to fix, and I think we did a good job of that in the second half.”

It still required some patience, as the Ospreys closed to within 28-22 on another 3 to start the third quarter. It was still 30-24 when Wise hit a 3 that jumpstarted the Indiana offense, which was missing sophomore scoring leader Grace Berger for the second straight game. Moren said she expects Berger, who was dressed out and participated in pregame warmups, to return Wednesday at Butler.

Freshman center Mackenzie Holmes, who had 10 points, then scored inside, as did Jaelynn Penn. Aleksa Gulbe followed with two free throws and suddenly the margin was 41-25.

“I always feel (the need to provide a spark), but we have other people who can step up as well, so I think everybody needed to step up collectively for it all to come together, and we talked about it,” Wise said. “Energy was our key word going into halftime, and I think we came out with more emphasis on our energy, both defensively and offensively.”

The Hoosiers finished out the third with a flourish. It started with spectacular ball movement, as Wise passed from the left corner to Holmes in the post. Holmes spun baseline and kicked the ball to Keyanna Warthen in the right corner. Warthen hit Ali Patberg on the wing, Patberg found Penn at the top of the key and she kicked the ball back to Wise for a wide-open 3.

“That brought a lot of energy,” Penn said. “We were all lit after that, because we practice that a lot — just extra, extra, extra. And Brenna knocked that down. It was a good shot.”

Holmes added a putback just before the buzzer to give IU a 47-30 advantage headed to the fourth.

Penn, who had 10 of her 14 points in the second half, hit a 3 and then scored in transition to make it 52-30, capping the 10-0 run.

The Hoosiers never looked back, combining offense and a defense that allowed just 26 percent shooting from the field and yielded less than 50 points for the fifth time this season.

“I’m happy for the way we played in the fourth,” Moren said. “I thought we ended the game the way we should have. That was much improved from the first three quarters.”

25 comments

  1. Assistant coach post game gave Nort Florida credit. However, he talked about short comings of IU leading scorer and almost double double and short comings of team in this game. He said they would set down and talk about how to fix some things. Love it. Reminds me of BK not being satisfied with 27 point victory.

  2. Morens comments explained my feelings exactly for at least the first 25min. of the game. They looked sloppy and lacking energy for that early time period and certainly not looking like the # 14 team in the country. Thankfully they finally got it together and made a nice push in the 4th, looking more like the team I watched on the road trip.

  3. Glad to observe that T. Moren comments know her team and circumstances in trying to fix things and get better.

  4. Can’t wait to see this team play a quality team! The schedule certainly leaves a lot to be desired. Since I live in Kokomo and have been a season ticket holder for around 25 years, it would certainly make my long trip worthwhile if the schedule was stronger. It almost seems a waste of time to drive down to Bloomington and see them kick somebody’s butt by 30 t0 40 points. I would really appreciate watching a good close game to see how good we really are? I am tired of the cupcakes! Will be glad to see UCLA, a highly ranked team. The rumor is that Berger will be back for Wednesday’s game, sure hope so! Go Hoosiers!!

  5. IU LADIES have a good mix of quality and cupcake games. This was a good game to get their feet back on the ground and into routine after road trips. They can now refocus and get ready for big ten. IU Ladies are good but it will be khown in March how good IU Ladies are or will be.

  6. Question: Can BY take red shirt this year? How does she fit in this year with so much time off? (effectiveness and teammates available) Sub role and how many minutes? Sometimes her decisions taking ball out against pressure weren’t the best last year. Wishing BY well.

  7. Thank you Women’s Basketball! Not a great game but a 27 point victory. Indiana was playing without both Berger and BY. What is BY’s medical/rehab status? Keep up the great work coach Moren and staff!

  8. The guy who sits next to me at the home games lives in Bloomington and he told me yesterday that he had heard that Bendu might play yesterday but, that obviously didn’t happen? If that is what he heard, I would assume that she is very close to being ready to go. Hopefully maybe Wednesday night against Butler.

  9. Yes Moren commented that Berger should play on wed. and Bendu is just around the corner. Does anyone know the status of Shai Beeler , will she be red-shirted this year.

    1. Last I heard was that she (Shaila Beeler) was on the concussion protocol after suffering one in October (right around Hoosier Hysteria). I do not know if she has any other issues restricting her return to play, but depending on the severity of the concussion, the after effects can last for quite awhile.

  10. IU is no longer the #14 team as they move up to #12 and are now the highest ranked team in the B1G as Mary. falls to #13. Even KY. who is still undefeated sits lower than IU.

    1. New bracket out by Charlie Creme at ESPN has IU as the Big Ten’s automatic qualifier and a 3 seed right now.
      Still really early, but this is the most respect I have seen for the women’s team in the fifteen or so years that I have been following them.

      1. He also has 11 B1G teams in the tourney. Shows the depth of the conference this season. Did anyone else notice that the Big12 went 8 – 2 vs the SEC during their Big12/SEC challenge? The SEC ain’t what it used to be. In fact the SEC sits at #7 in the current conference rankings. The B1G sits at #2.

  11. bvance– Thanks for the update, I looked earlier today and didnt see it but was expecting it any day.

  12. 11 teams shows the parody in the conf. at least early on. As we start knocking each other around we will find out where we all stand. Lets hope IU can stay mostly injury free.

  13. The depth of this team is about to go off the deep end when we get Bendu back which should be over the next couple of games? Bendu is the best athlete that has ever played for the Hoosiers! This year’s IU team is playing the best defense that I have seen in all the years I have been attending games! Really looking forward to Wednesday’s game at Hinkle Fieldhouse which is a great venue for basketball. Nice to see IU move up to 12th in the polls this week. I have seen Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska and they all look pretty good to me, conference play is really going to be exciting this year, can’t wait! Go Hoosiers!

  14. IU Ladies defense has been keeping teams at bay and offense is usually very good. However, the main reason for IU Ladies success is there defense. If offense has problems IU Ladies defense holds teams until offense once again kicks in gear.
    BY success for the 2019-2020 year.

  15. I have always loved Hinkle , it is a place that holds great tradition for many hoosiers. It used to be the place where state championships would be played and athletes always looked forward to it. Previously Bendu has been a great athlete and defense ace, but will she be what she once was , will she ever be 100%. The achilles carries the tradition of being a devastating injury. I wish the best for her and know she wants to play and they want her on the floor,, we shall see.

    Im aware that Beeler had her injury on the day of practice of hoosier hysteria so wasnt there for that and I know she has been in the concussion protocol . But now its been so long that Im wondering if she will be red-shirted. Of recent at least we have seen her with the team and before that did not see her at all.

  16. I kinda wonder how many minutes (limited) BY can get? Not because of her shortcomings but due to injury how effective can she be vs IU Ladies have really good players. Maybe, a utility player? Who? Where?

  17. When Bennie comes back Im guessing limited until she gets reconditioned with her wind. Moren has already stated that when she comes back the rotation will change and it will be the coaching staff who will have the difficulty of getting everyone good minutes. The depth is there so why not use it to wear teams down.

  18. In today’s interview Moren did not commit to Bendu playing on wed, only that there is an outside chance, but did commit to Berger being back. Moren also seemed to answer the question I have been asking about Beeler saying ” Ariel and Shai have a long way to go” sounds like a redshirt.

    1. Steve is correct. Moren told us today that Yeaney had an “outside chance” of playing at Butler, but given that Bendu was cleared last week and the fact that the coach even opened the possibility suggests to me that they would like to find her at least a couple of minutes if the opportunity presents itself. I would expect it to be very slow, limited progression up to the start of Big Ten play.

  19. My point is I have seen players come back from BY type injuries and at first they look good. However, wear and tear of season/games can take its toll on injury, kind a putting a limitation or hesitancy on things. Starting with outside chance that she may play. BY strength is she is athletic aggressive player. How much is taken away? However, just speculation and it will play itself out.
    It seems as though Beeler should be ready to go by now if that was only reason. Maybe, her situation since early on was leaning towards red shirt.
    Be great that Berger will be back. She needs to find a way to stay healthy.

  20. Personally I dont think there was ever an issue with the talents of Shaila Beeler, but the concussion can affect people differently. Plus if the injury is severe enough you wont be able to practice for a length of time which would put you way behind the eight ball so to speak. I was hoping to see her play this season, but Im sure its for the best to hold her out.

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