No. 20 IU women hold off Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — In a game of runs, the Indiana women’s basketball team had the last one that mattered.

And it allowed the 20th-ranked Hoosiers to escape with a 59-54 win over Illinois Thursday night.

That it was a close game was a surprise. Illinois came in 13th place in the Big Ten and having lost to Indiana, 83-42, five weeks ago in Bloomington.

However, there the Illini were, leading 49-47 with 4:05 left in the game.

But Ali Patberg hit a pair of free throws to tie it, then Illini’s Petra Holesinská was called for a flagrant foul for an elbow to the head of Jaelynn Penn with 3:31 left.

Penn knocked down the two free throws, and Aleksa Gulbe scored on a layup 18 seconds later to put the Hoosiers up 53-49.

Grace Berger hit a jumper to cap the 8-0 run and give Indiana a 55-49 lead with 2:16 left.

Penn hit four more free throws down the stretch and Indiana held on to improve to 20-6 overall and 10-4 in the Big Ten.

“Sometimes all the wins aren’t pretty, and tonight we’re leaving here with an ugly win,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said. “But we’re happy.”

Patberg finished with a team-high 17 points to lead the Hoosiers. Gulbe added 15 points and eight rebounds, and Penn had 10 points and six boards.

It started out all good for Indiana, which jumped out to a 6-0 start to the game.

But it was a struggle from then on until there was a little over four minutes left in the first half.

Illinois went on a 9-0 run before Patberg hit a 3 to tie it, but the Illini took a 12-11 lead after one.

Ali Andrews hit a 3 and J-Naya Ephraim a layup to put Illinois in front 17-10, but a basket by Berger and two by Penn got the Hoosiers within 17-16 with 7:20 left in the half.

The teams traded baskets, then the Illini went on an 8-0 run, capped by a pair of Andrews free throws, to take a 27-18 lead with 4:40 left.

But Indiana blanked Illinois the rest of the way, and the Hoosiers closed with a 7-0 run on a layup by Gulbe and a 3 and a 2 by Patberg to make it 27-25 at the half.

The Hoosiers stayed hot to open the third quarter, scoring the first nine of the second half to take a 34-27 lead on a layup by Patberg with 7:47 left in the quarter.

Illinois, however, answered with a 9-3 run to take a 38-37 lead on Courtney Jones’ 3 with 3:36 left.

From there, the teams traded the lead three times before Indiana ended the quarter with a 45-43 lead on Berger’s layup with 1:07 left.

“There’s still so many things we’ve got to go back and clean up,” Moren said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well, and we’ve got to figure out what’s going on there.”

Indiana went 22-of-56 from the field (39.3%), but won the game at the line, hitting 13-of-17 (76.5%), while the Illini went just 9-of-16 from the line (56.3%).

Indiana dominated the boards, 45-29, led by Brenna Wise’s 10 rebounds.

“We made just enough plays, just like we did the other day at Nebraska, and did a tremendous job on the boards,” Moren said. “Turnovers really hurt us in the first quarter.”

Andrews had a game-high 19 points, and Jeanae Terry had 15 to lead Illinois (11-13, 2-11).

Indiana plays next at home Sunday against Ohio State.


  1. IU BB won two games tonight, played sorta concurrently on BTN+ and BTN.
    If you saw only the men come alive and win big over Iowa, all you need to dwell on in the women’s win was… well… they-we… won.

    Like at Nebraska, they made the plays that had to be made in the last few minutes at both ends of the court, and Jaelyn made the free throws, to avoid a brewing upset.
    They owe themselves and the coaching staff a more consistent performance reflective of a ranked team at home on Sunday against OSU. Importantly, our WBB’s remain on track for a top 4 bye in the BTN tourney.

    Meanwhile, Maryland administered a wicked payback on Iowa, doubling the score deep into the game. Our Decenber foes… SC is at 1 & UCLA is now ranked 7… and Maryland is “up” to 10.
    With the emergence of frosh power-point guard Owusu confirmed tonight, Maryland is playing in Tier One of the BTN by themselves, looking like a final 8 if not a final 4 team in the NCAA tourney.

    OSU here for Sunday daytime game… there’s no weeknight-schoolnight excuse not to “show up” at The Hall this time.

  2. Another B1G road win. Nice game from Gulbe …. 15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals. When Gulbe was on the floor (30:44) the Hoosiers out scored Illinois by 20 points. I’m guessing Holmes was under the weather.
    Lets pack the Hall on Sunday.

  3. Gulbe has made solid improvement this year.

    IU Ladies got flagrant foul call to face for 4 point swing late in game.
    Another unimpressive win and IU Ladies need to put an excellent game together against OSU or they won’t win at their own gym.

  4. IU had been out played all night , on this cold shooting effort 2-16 from 3 pt range. Ill was 9-21 from 3. Had it not been for the flagrant 1 IU would have most likely lost this game since the game was tied and Penn hit the two free throws and a bucket was made on the out of bounds play. Concerning Mac either she was under the weather or the coach was not happy with her play. Illinois appears to be an improving team, one to watch.

  5. I think IU is a team to watch. Is the IU Ladies basketball team going to be the one earlier in year as compared to other teams or is it going to be the team later in year???

  6. Right now the most important thing for IU is to hold on the 4 seed to get the double bye. Thats what makes the sunday game against Ohio State so important OS is the team right behind us with 5 losses one less than us and are on a 4 game win streak. IU wont win if they put out an effort like against ILL., better come with our A game. All teams now are playing zone and packing it inside against us betting we wont make 3’s which is whats been happening for us. The last game we hit very many 3’s was 9 against Wis. and we needed everyone to get that win.

  7. That’s why I think IU Ladies (not saying they don’t because I don’t know) need to put 3 ball into game plan and practice it with Patberg, Penn, and Wise (Box on post game Illinois commented Patberg was excellent 3 ball shooter and has to shoot it) without taking bad shots or chucking up 3 ball to loosen things up in middle and break zones. Confidence is very critical when shooting 3 ball. It will make a big difference this time of year. IU was more effective with 3 ball earlier and it had positive impact on South Carolina game. South Carolina walloped UCONN with 3 ball (of course SC has other dominating elements to their game). I was critical when Miller was coaching IU Ladies depending almost only on shooting 3 ball. However, if IU Ladies are going to successfully move forward for remainder of this year now is the time to to practice and incorporate 3 ball into offense with confidence without taking bad shots or it’s going to be predictable business as usual.

  8. Does anyone else think Berger is trying to do too much on her own? Appears to be forcing herself into trouble, tries too much lately to dribble thru traps and many times loses control or the ball.

  9. Good observation. Lack of Ladies running a team offense. AP dribbling around and now Berger dribbling one on one forcing frustrating shots or play losing ball, turnovers creating stagnation in offense rather than more screening, passing, hard cutting, running offense. However, some dribbling creating offense by Berger, Patberg and others is good if they don’t get carried away forgetting to run previously mentioned offense.

  10. Well, since we’re all coaches, here’s my thought.
    We look like a team that is very tired and one that has a tendency to play down to or up to the level of the opponent. Sure wish the IU substitutes could earn more playing time.
    By the way, I noticed that Maryland is now closing in on a number ONE seed in the NCAA tourney!

  11. Here I thought that was what this site was created for, all us bleacher seat fans could tell the coaches what they are doing wrong.

  12. You don’t just become a 3 point shooting team after a couple of practices. You can shoot them all you want but, on the season, IU has not been effective shooting the 3. There is a reason for that, they are simply not good 3 point shooters! Practicing the 3 point shot for a few days will not alter that. Either you have good outside shooters from distance or you don’t, we don’t. Hitting a bunch of 3’s in one game was an anomaly (South Carolina), simple as that. The season has shown us that shooting 3’s is not our strength. we need to do what we do well to win; defense, rebound and take care of the ball, that will determine a win or a loss. Go Hoosiers!!

  13. Disagree. I think IU Ladies have some capable 3 point shooters; Penn, Wise, and Patberg. I am not saying it should be all dominating part of game rather incorporated into game plan practiced with confidence to me (shooting it with confidence is the mental part for IU Ladies
    and determine %’s). IU Ladies have to open the middle for offense some.

  14. Steve W.
    I didn’t mean to imply it’s a bad thing for all of us to talk about coaching.
    I totally enjoy the views expressed in this site. 🙂
    As a matter of fact, I even gave my view (for what little it’s worth).

  15. NatHillIV– No Problemo , takes me back to that Eastwood line “Opinions are like A.. Holes everyone’s got one”.

    Sure Rebounding, Defense , taking care of ball are key, but as shown in the last game Moren wanted her team to try and force it inside and many TO’s happened because of it. Obviously most teams are saying “beat us from the outside if you can”. So that makes the 3 ptr even more important that we make some. In my opinion IU”s defense is only avg. needs to get a lot better. We will need to hit some 3’s to pull out a win on sunday or else O S. may steal the 4 seed away from us.

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