No. 11 Kentucky rallies past No. 13 IU women, 72-68

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The 13th-ranked Indiana women’s basketball team rocketed to a double-digit lead through the middle two quarters on Sunday, but a slow start and even slower finish doomed the Hoosiers to a 72-68 loss at No. 11 Kentucky.

“We let one slip away,” IU coach Teri Moren said. “We were in between being an aggressive team and a passive team. We needed to be aggressive for 40 minutes, and we didn’t do that.”

Indiana started slow hitting just three of its first 12 shots from the field, but the same defense that allowed just 26 points against Samford on Thursday night gave the Hoosiers time to find their footing.

IU trailed 12-9 with 3:35 to go in the first quarter when it suddenly turned on the afterburners.

The Hoosiers (2-1) finished the quarter on a 12-0 run, capped by Jaelynn Penn’s 3-pointer to take a 23-12 lead.

“They definitely gave it to us in the first half,” admitted UK forward Dre’una Edwards.

There was no letting up in the second quarter either, as Indiana claimed its largest lead at 28-14 with UK star Rhyne Howard picking up her second offensive foul at the 9:09 mark.

Fellow All-American Ali Patberg of Indiana would join her in foul trouble later in the frame, picking up her second foul at the 4:37 mark.

Even without Patberg, the Hoosiers maintained their double-digit lead behind the frontcourt work of Aleksa Gulbe and Mackenzie Holmes, while freshman Chloe Moore-McNeil came off the bench with three assists.

Penn, who also had two first-half fouls, had her first double-digit game of the season by halftime with all 11 of her points on 4-of-5 shooting. She was 0-of-4 in the second half.

Holmes had 10 points and eight rebounds at the break, finishing with her second career double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Patberg and Gulbe added six points apiece as Indiana took a 36-23 lead to the lockerroom after Holmes swatted a UK shot in the closing seconds of the half.

Kentucky (4-0) was just 9-of-28 from the field (.321) in the opening half with Chasity Patterson scoring nine points to keep the Wildcats afloat.

However, the shooting script flipped in the third quarter as UK hit six straight shots at one point and 7-of-10 in the frame to get within six late before a layup by Holmes and banked 2-pointer at the buzzer by Grace Berger restored the advantage to 10.

For Indiana, the third quarter was about surviving after Patberg and Penn each picked up their third foul in the first three minutes. Howard did the same later in the frame, but she still heated up with 10 of her game-high 22 points.

“We were really good limiting shot attempts in the first half, but we lost that a little bit,” Moren said. “They went to their zone (defense), which slowed us down and we just became passive, having to make decisions in the late shot clock. It was frustrating to watch on the sideline, but our guards have to be way better.”

Berger picked up the slack with the Wildcats trying to rally, scoring all 14 Indiana points in the fourth quarter en route to 21 for the game, but the Hoosiers otherwise went cold, going six and a half minutes without a field goal.

Meanwhile, Kentucky’s Dre’una Edwards scored out of the media timeout with 4:16 to play, pulling the Wildcats within four. Robyn Benton followed with a 3 to get within one and then hit both free throws for its first lead since the first quarter.

Berger responded with a pair of free throws to regain the lead with 2:31 left.

That was a band-aid on a deep gash though, as UK scored six unanswered points after a five-second violation by Indiana.

“Unacceptable. absolutely inexcusable that we can’t get the ball in on the sideline,” Moren said. “It seemed like a quick five but no excuses.

“… We were late and it took too long and we were therefore punished. Huge momentum-turner. It gave them life and energy.”

Berger’s three-point play got the Hoosiers back within two, but the teams just traded free throws and layups thereafter.

Kentucky finished 18-of-22 at the line and 8-of-16 from 3, while Indiana was just 9-of-15 at the line and 3-of-11 from 3.

“Give Kentucky credit in the fourth, in the second half,” Moren said. “We almost gave up 50 points, which is disappointing because we feel like we’re a defensive-minded team.”

31 comments

  1. Pretty much sums it up. IU Ladies have to put ball in the basket. Not only 3 ball but free throws, 5 and 10 footers, and layups. Lady Hoosiers though a little bothered by KY size ( not much really) work hard on defense, then offense makes plays inside including little shots only to shove or throw it up missing somewhat open shots. KY zone made IU a little tight allowing KY comeback. Seems to be an IU Lady trademark. Seen it time and time again. Chloe Moore shot sums up IU shooting with a 3 ball that misses the whole rim. Lot of unforced misses for whole team. Then, KY gets the aggressive confidence momentum swing and gets refs to momentum swing with them that creates lopsided confidence in Kentucky favor. Example Penn took ball on clean steal that was ruled jump ball to KY and quick 5 second call and another couple calls that went KY way. Earlier in game IU Ladies got a couple calls to go their way. IU Ladies did not play well and seemed to wear down a little. KY did not play that well either but they did put the ballin the basket second half. IU is about the same as last year a top 15 team. KY about the sa as are about 20 to 25 other teams.

    Steve. You are right Chloe Moore is playing now and has good length and wing span. Not sure it’s a negative (kinda) that IU Ladies have to play her now because there is not talent to play ahead of her. Chloe Moore does look good; confident and comfortable with upside. She looks like eventually she could score.

    1. Like Tom Allen was pleading 3 years back, our workword for our WBB year should be “FINISH.”
      Finish the play… finish the screen, finish the entry pass, finish the blockout, above all, finish each shot and finish the game.

      My personal theory on poor inside shooting is that it’s mental leading physical. Intiimidation from expecting to be hacked or bumped = stress = tension = ducking head-neck into shoulders thus removing eye focus on the rim = shots that are short-armed or throw-ups-guided by-hope.
      That’s the opposite of playing “free,” muscles relaxed, tension-free, arm-hand following-through.

      I only know from golf, that swinging a club (or shooting a ball) is NOT about John Daly or DeChambeau or Kyle Schwarber, driver in hand, sacrificing direction, to “Grip it and rip it.” In golf, making shots (and putts) is about making controlled tension-free swings.

      Today we played right back at the level where we were in December of 2019 after losing to UCLA.
      We need to beat Butler and play better against 3 B1G teams before ever even peeking at rankings again, until January 5.

  2. I commend the women for not ducking KY …like our men’s program. Doesn’t make much sense that the women can play the border rivalry while the men’s historical yearly match-up was abandoned.

    On similar note, KY men’s was obliterated by an unrated Georgia Tech team. Calipari looked rather unkempt and chubby. Some have used hunkering down from Covid to become garage gym warriors…Some have become snack cabinet warriors.

  3. Yes Chloe has a lot of upside to her game and she was doing pretty well defending Howard so called player of the year. As a rule I try not to say anything negative about any player but Ali really hurt us with her lack of production. On Greg’s postgame he noted that she was 3 for 15,, as a leader of this team she has to be better. Also FT shooting has to improve. 9-15 but seemed like it was worse than that.

  4. t and Steve W. nailed the analysis.
    I’m normally very happy with our play and effort, but today nobody except Grace Berger seemed to have any energy or much desire in the fourth quarter.
    Not sure I have ever seen a player score all of a teams’ 14 points in a given quarter. Grace almost held on for an IU win all by herself, while everybody else seemed afraid to do anything.
    Onward and upward!
    GO IU!

    1. The only thing I would add is that Cardano-Hillary could be a game-changer if she’s granted eligibility. Sounds like a proposal could go before the DI council in the next 10 days to make all transfers immediately eligible. I think she would be the shooter/scorer that IU lacks in these sustained droughts.

      1. Thanks you Jeremy.
        I will never understand the NCAA.
        What’s the delay NCAA?
        And I agree, KY had sharpshooters galore, and yesterday, we could have certainly used one.

  5. A ”Penix Shoe” has fallen on Maryland WBB

    Early in the Terps’ thrash bombing of Towson, Angel Reese, Maryland’s super freshman, their highest ranked recruit ever, and a “big, a post player, suffered a broken foot bone, and is expected to miss playing until late in the B1G season.

    If you watch(ed) Maryland’s remaining 8 healthy players and the 21 of 31 3 pointers bombing…
    the Terp’s remain “hell on wheels” and with perhaps four 3-point shooters blazing.
    But being 8 scholly players thin and with just one post player for awhile, this could throw the B1G race a bit more open for awhile, and give IU WBB some added hope and incentive to clean up the act before playing AT Maryland, Jan. 5.

  6. I haven’t been able to watch the last two games. Is there a reason Hanna N. hasn’t played at all or did I miss something?

  7. The sky is not falling. It was game 3 of the season and game 1 on the road against a tough evenly matched team. Single digit turnovers , Gulbe playing 36+ minutes (only 2 fouls) and Holmes on the floor for 34 minutes herself are good indicators of growth from last season.
    South Carolina and Baylor both lost this past week. Arizona won their last 2 games by a combined 4 points. Buckle up….. this season could be a wild ride!

    1. scwartzie, excellent thoughts as usual. I think the WAY we managed to lose is what has us all so bumbed out. We flat took it to them for three quarters, then collapsed.
      But you’re right, we lost to the number 12 team in the country by four points on a night where we couldn’t make three throws or three pointers, and that was it.

      Uncle Buddy, I THINK I heard WHCC’s 105.1 Greg Murray say Hanna is in a boot. No idea when she will be able to return. Makes me sad.

  8. J Bee. Good analysis and once KY kept leveraging the difference was KY players were laser focused on their shots not letting IU defense affect them. IU Ladies were the opposite/psychological not to lose and were not playing with focused, toughness and aggression to stave off KY comeback. KY is a good team but not a great team. IU Ladies will meet big ten teams on the road that will present the same challenges. The big girls for IU and their gunners need to score more at will or impose their willin scoring (confidence/focus/tough) Patterson can leave some of her emotions parked at home after making a good play. Patberg is enough to have as a head case at times on team. Both, players need to level themselves out a little and stay confidently focused. Overall, IU Ladies did not play well in a higher level game. A few opportunities were missed in first half as well. IU Ladies have quite a bit of upside. Where is the offense against high level competition? IU Ladies let this one get away.

  9. I thought Patterson could be a little more effective against high level competition. Apparently not. Chloe Moore things to like about her play.

  10. Beginning to wonder if this is going to be a poor shooting team again this year in big games? 41% yesterday, 27% 3 point shooting, 60% free throw shooting? Even more disturbing is our leader Patberg shooting 3 for 15 from the field! Ali in big games has a tendency of forcing shots. Yesterday is a perfect example. She feels like she has to take all the big shots which at times can be detrimental to the success of the team. I love Ali but, she needs to let the game come to her instead of forcing her game. There was absolutely NO team balance in the 4th quarter, no other player other than Berger tried to score? This is to good a team to let that happen? There are many players on the floor that are offensive threats other than Berger. It seems to me that any coach worth worth their weight would call time out and make some kind of offensive adjustment? There is no way we should have lost this game. We dominated the game through out 3 quarters and then let it slip away because of an inept offensive approach in the 4th quarter. The inability of the coaching staff to call a time out and make an offensive adjustment was hard to understand? Kentucky is a good team but, not that good ! Go Hoosiers!!

  11. “Be careful what you wish for” Moren has asked for Patberg to be more aggressive and shoot more , well yesterday that backfired. Then coach says we should have gotten inside more, make up your mind coach. Frustration really sets in on tough losses like this, especially when we controlled it for a lot of game , then let it slip away. Moren only seemeed confident enough to go 7 deep in this game a brief period with key and waggoner. Perhaps if Hillary can get the waiver and Price comes in after the first of year things can get better for this team’s depth.

    1. Steve, don’t look for the NCAA to do us any favors? They never have in the past! Lack of depth falls on Moren’s shoulders…..she recruited these kids. There will continue to be no depth if you refuse to play them? It’s hard to develop depth when you only put a kid in for a couple of minutes? Coach, you recruited these kids, lack of depth falls on YOU!!

  12. T. Moren has built a good (Key word is good) program. Not in a group of best programs. Has far as recruiting goes T. Moren and IU are getting the best players that they can get just like most programs. Though IU Ladies basketball is a lot better reality shows the very very best recruits including big physical skilled players show it is still not a destination. So, T. Moren creates ways to get the best she can and tries to develop them. This has been her success. That part of her coaching is modeled after B.K. T. Moren goal is big ten championship. That is not eliteness. Rather, just in the category of good. Right now the eye test seems that IU Lady Basketball is going to go into a plateau competing for big ten championship and maybe winning one.

  13. I do agree it looked like T. Moren and staff coaching was a debacle as IU Ladies lost game they should have been able to put away. That was a horrendous loss. Oh how swiftly a coaching staff and team can be turned on.

  14. Gosh, I thought Moren was the cat’s pajamas of all IU coaches? You guys are now acting like she’s all show and little glow. Next thing you know she’ll be using cue cards. She poured out tears for Tom Crean. Maybe there is an opening that can be found at Georgia? Tom Crean at point(less)…She can be a shooting BS guard.

  15. Year after year T. Moren including this year talks about how IU Ladies can score and players can shoot 3 ball. T. Moren must have IU Lady players confused with players from other higher level teams.

  16. HFH ,,,, Mabee you should turn in your tea leaves for some cats pajamas. Some of us dedicated backers for the women just need to do a little venting once in a while. Im sure you regulars over on the mens forum dont do any venting. 🙂

    1. Still very concerned about our lack of shooting accuracy? I am always amazed at how these kids are all high volume scorers in high school and yet all of a sudden they can’t hit the floor with their hat in college? For some reason we can’t shoot the 3 with any reasonable accuracy as other teams do. Is it roster make up, play design or bad coaching? Waiting on certain players to become eligible may not be the answer? We will see? Go Hoosiers!!

  17. I don’t get it.
    We lost to the #12 team, on the road, by four points.
    Granted, it wasn’t pretty and it was discouraging. Last night Coach Moren took some of the blame.
    So now we get the same whining so often heard on the men’s side of IU basketball that “we don’t really want a national championship, don’t set our sights high enough, too willing to ‘settle’ for BigTen Championships, blah, blah, blah.”
    Geez, let’s all take a deep breath and enjoy the IU women’s ascent to a place they’ve never even been close to before.

  18. I apologize.
    I over-reacted to some comments made here by others.
    Everybody here wants the same thing, success for the IU women, so I had no reason to get so animated.
    I usually type stuff like that to get it out of my system, and then don’t send it.
    But this time my decision making process suffered a lapse and I hit “enter.”
    GO IU!

  19. To me, it seems not so much the loss as how we lost.? An early season loss to an equal or better team often ends up being a motivation for the team (& the coaches) for the rest of the schedule. This loss could end up being a good thing for the team. A wake-up call.

  20. This IU team had Ky on the ropes and didnt finish them off at that time, instead Ky escaped off the ropes and finished with a flurry in the 4 th qtr. Hopefully they will learn from this and be better for it. So yes next time out I fully expect them to come a little angry, a little embarrassed from the loss and a little determined to show what they can do. Poor Butler is the next victim, I feel sorry for the buldogs, this IU team will not , better not feel sorry in the least.

  21. Sparkplug- Who is the best ‘distributor’ on the team? Who gets things running on ‘all cylinders?’ Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    1. Fair enough! I am a Speedway (Sparkplugs) grad. Speaking of distributors, I think we really need Cardano-Hillary. Move Patberg to shooting guard. Love Ali, but think she would be better making opponents react to her after receiving a pass. Also would help our 3 point shooting – which is critical if we are ever going to be close to elite.

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