IU staying in the moment for Sweet 16

Indiana women’s basketball coach Teri Moren has a 24-hour rule.

Enjoy a win or bemoan a loss for one day, then move on to what’s next.

That might’ve been amended just a little bit on Thursday, as the Hoosiers returned to practice just 22 hours after getting past the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.

There was no time to lose with a Sweet 16 date with top-seeded North Carolina State looming at 6 o’clock Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

“Our goal coming into the season wasn’t to get to a Sweet 16 and stop,” IU senior guard Ali Patberg said. “We have bigger goals and we’ve had those goals, so we understand that life is so short and we want to enjoy all the steps we’ve taken, all the milestones we’ve reached, but Coach has a 24-hour rule. Once that’s up, it’s time to get back to work.

“(Wednesday) night we were already thinking about Saturday and our opponent. It’s been cool and it’s been fun to get to the Sweet 16, but our goal is a lot higher.”

And the path to reaching that goal is about to become a lot more difficult against the Wolfpack (22-2), ACC Tournament champions and winners of 10 straight games who are led by WBCA National Coach of the Year Wes Moore.

“There’s a reason why they’re the No. 1 seed,” Moren said. “Transition-wise, they are unbelievably athletic. They have an inside presence, balanced scoring, won the ACC and that says it all. That’s a terrific league. Wes is a terrific coach, he and his staff have done an unbelievable job. There’s a lot in this two-day window that we have to prepare for.”

If there’s one thing Indiana (20-5) excels at, it’s preparation as evidenced by the Hoosiers giving up just 80 total points in their first two games of the tournament, a Big Ten record.

“They have a lot of great individual players and they play well as a unit, but like I’ve always said, our coaches are, I think, some of the best in the country,” Patberg said. “They’re going to have us prepared to a ‘T,’ we just have to go out and execute and play with heart and toughness and a willingness to do whatever it takes to win.”

One of the things it will take is limiting N.C. State’s second chances, especially 6-foot-6 standout center Elissa Cunane. That’s been the one chink in IU’s armor through the first two games, allowing 13 offensive rebounds to VCU and 11 more to Belmont.

“The biggest key for us is we have to keep them off the offensive glass,” Moren said. “We’ve proven in the past couple games that we can guard in the halfcourt quite well, but what we haven’t done is a good enough job keeping other teams (off the glass). You’re not going to beat N.C. State giving up offensive rebounds.

“If I have to pick one key, there’s a lot of them, but the No. 1 key will be our ability to keep them off the offensive glass and not give up second and third shot opportunities.”

That blip on the radar notwithstanding, the Hoosiers certainly have the attention of the Wolfpack, who had an off day to watch IU’s second-round game.

“Very well prepared, well-coached,” Moore said. “Kids have high basketball IQs, very skilled, very fundamental and very tough. I know we’ll have our hands full, for sure.”

The shorter prep may not be ideal, but Indiana hopes it just helps keep the team in rhythm. And after the first two games, the Hoosiers believe there is still room for improvement, 24-hour rule or not.

“Defensively, I think we’ve just had a different mindset on the defensive end — a willingness, a toughness about us, a pride thing,” Patberg said. “Offensively, the first half of the first game I thought we were stagnant, there wasn’t a lot of flow because we had about a week, week and a half off. But the second half of the first game and then last game we did some good things offensively, and I think that’s going to continue in our favor for the next game, just keep that momentum rolling.

“… We had a good time (Wednesday) after the game, enjoying the win, enjoying all the work we’ve done but now we’re on to the next game and we’re looking to continue to win.”

3 comments

  1. Keep going – we are enjoying watching you enjoying basketball being well played. Only a few more games and your 24 hour rule will get extended. GO GALS!!!

  2. IU vs North Carolina State
    Will IU Ladies guard and prevent 3 ball?
    Who gets into foul trouble?

Comments are closed.