No. 10 IU women keep their cool in win over Iowa

Standout Iowa freshman Caitlin Clark couldn’t take it anymore.

Annoyed by Indiana’s Nicole Cardano-Hillary into a pair of turnovers and further frustrated by being whistled for an offensive foul, the Big Ten’s leading scorer sat on the bench as time wound down on the third quarter and screamed after another Hawkeye foul call.

“He’s so bad, he’s so bad,” Clarked howled to no one in particular and to everyone in the small crowd at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

At the same time, the 10th-ranked Hoosiers were in the process of turning a 57-56 deficit into a 65-59 lead after three quarters, extending the run to 12-2 on an Ali Patberg 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter and never looking back en route to a calm, cool and collected 89-80 victory over Iowa.

Chalk up this win to maturity.

“It’s huge that we’re a veteran team,” IU junior gaurd Grace Berger said. “We were talking at halftime that we’ve been in these situations countless times before. Nothing can really faze us. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before.

“We keep grinding it out and believing in our game plan that we’ll make the next play no matter what the score is and have that belief we’re going to come out with a win.”

The Hawkeyes (14-8, 10-8 Big Ten) have the ability to challenge that belief as the No. 2 scoring team in both the Big Ten and the nation behind only Maryland with Clark the second-leading scorer in the country.

Indiana (17-4, 15-2) held Iowa in check through the first quarter, holding a 17-15 lead, but the Hawkeyes exploded behind Clark in the second quarter for 28 points. They shot nearly 61% from the field in the opening half and capped things off with a conventional three-point play from Clark and then a contested 3 from long-range to beat the buzzer to go up 43-38 at the break.

Unfazed or not, it wasn’t what IU coach Teri Moren wanted to see.

“I can tell you sometimes it drives their coach and the staff nuts,” she said. “We always want them to be on ’10’ as we say around here. With a kid like (Clark) you have to be really careful. Everybody, all 50 people here, knew where the ball was going to go, so you want to end the half with a stop, and that’s certainly not the way we wanted to end the first half.

“The one thing (Grace) is correct on is this group doesn’t get fazed, understanding they have the second half to right the wrongs they made in the first half. That’s what I appreciate about them. I love the composure they continue to play with, particularly in the second half when games have been tight going down the stretch.”

The Hoosiers were no slouch offensively, themselves, shooting nearly 57% in the first half and bumping that number up to nearly 59% in the second half.

Other than one four-possession stretch to start the second quarter when IU went stagnant against a zone defense, the Hoosiers were able to keep the pressure on Iowa to score.

“As we finish up the season and go into the Big Ten Tournament, then the NCAA, you want to be good with movement, you don’t want to have droughts on offense, and I will say this, we’re finding different ways to score the ball,” Moren said. “Those three guards out there are high-level, high-level guards and make good decisions, are great facilitators for each other and for Mack and for Leks.”

The Hawkeyes flip-flopped their defense from zone to man to zone and back to man again, finding little to slow Indiana’s three-headed monster of Berger, Patberg and Mackenzie Holmes, who each finished with 22 points. Holmes added 11 rebounds, Patberg eight assists, Cardano-Hillary 13 points and Aleksa Gulbe chipped in with seven points and nine rebounds.

Patberg and Holmes were the primary closers in the fourth quarter with 10 and eight points, respectively, as IU went up by as many as 10 at 74-64.

The Hawkeyes and Clark, who was held to four points during the third quarter by Cardano-Hillary, made one more run. Megan Meyer hit a 3, then after Clark picked up her fourth foul on a reach-in, Holmes traveled. Clark drilled a 3 at the other end to cut the deficit to 79-75 with 3:42 to play.

Cardano-Hillary missed a 3 on the ensuing possession, but Gulbe grabbed the offensive rebound on the baseline as Clark banged into her, fouling out with 2:50 left. It was one of 13 offensive rebounds leading to 21 second-chance points for Indiana, which dominated the glass, 38-21.

“We had some timely (offensive rebounds),” Moren said. “Nikki had a big one, then Leks, that last one she got was a difficult rebound to go get and took Caitlin Clark out of the game with her fifth foul.”

Free throws salted away the game from there, Indiana going 8-of-11 in the final period to clinch no worse than the No. 2 seed for the Big Ten Tournament with its eighth straight win and tie the program record for Big Ten wins in a season with 15, matching the 1983 conference champs.

It also gives Indiana 28 Big Ten wins over the past two seasons, the most of any two-year stretch in program history.

The Hoosiers are exuding maturity and confidence heading into Saturday’s regular-season finale against Purdue.

“I think this is the best time of the year,” Berger said. “We feel like we’re playing our best individually and as a team. We’re kind of in a rhythm right now, heading into March, the Big Ten Touranment, the NCAA Tournament really confident and expecting to make a big run.”Standout Iowa freshman Caitlin Clark couldn’t take it anymore.

Annoyed by Indiana’s Nicole Cardano-Hillary into a pair of turnovers and further frustrated by being whistled for an offensive foul, the Big Ten’s leading scorer sat on the bench as time wound down on the third quarter and screamed after another Hawkeye foul call.

“He’s so bad, he’s so bad,” Clarked howled to no one in particular and to everyone in the small crowd at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

At the same time, the 10th-ranked Hoosiers were in the process of turning a 57-56 deficit into a 65-59 lead after three quarters, extending the run to 12-2 on an Ali Patberg 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter and never looking back en route to a calm, cool and collected 89-80 victory over Iowa.

Chalk up this win to maturity.

“It’s huge that we’re a veteran team,” IU junior gaurd Grace Berger said. “We were talking at halftime that we’ve been in these situations countless times before. Nothing can really faze us. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before.

“We keep grinding it out and believing in our game plan that we’ll make the next play no matter what the score is and have that belief we’re going to come out with a win.”

The Hawkeyes (14-8, 10-8 Big Ten) have the ability to challenge that belief as the No. 2 scoring team in both the Big Ten and the nation behind only Maryland with Clark the second-leading scorer in the country.

Indiana (17-4, 15-2) held Iowa in check through the first quarter, holding a 17-15 lead, but the Hawkeyes exploded behind Clark in the second quarter for 28 points. They shot nearly 61% from the field in the opening half and capped things off with a conventional three-point play from Clark and then a contested 3 from long-range to beat the buzzer to go up 43-38 at the break.

Unfazed or not, it wasn’t what IU coach Teri Moren wanted to see.

“I can tell you sometimes it drives their coach and the staff nuts,” she said. “We always want them to be on ’10’ as we say around here. With a kid like (Clark) you have to be really careful. Everybody, all 50 people here, knew where the ball was going to go, so you want to end the half with a stop, and that’s certainly not the way we wanted to end the first half.

“The one thing (Grace) is correct on is this group doesn’t get fazed, understanding they have the second half to right the wrongs they made in the first half. That’s what I appreciate about them. I love the composure they continue to play with, particularly in the second half when games have been tight going down the stretch.”

The Hoosiers were no slouch offensively, themselves, shooting nearly 57% in the first half and bumping that number up to nearly 59% in the second half.

Other than one four-possession stretch to start the second quarter when IU went stagnant against a zone defense, the Hoosiers were able to keep the pressure on Iowa to score.

“As we finish up the season and go into the Big Ten Tournament, then the NCAA, you want to be good with movement, you don’t want to have droughts on offense, and I will say this, we’re finding different ways to score the ball,” Moren said. “Those three guards out there are high-level, high-level guards and make good decisions, are great facilitators for each other and for Mack and for Leks.”

The Hawkeyes flip-flopped their defense from zone to man to zone and back to man again, finding little to slow Indiana’s three-headed monster of Berger, Patberg and Mackenzie Holmes, who each finished with 22 points. Holmes added 11 rebounds, Patberg eight assists, Cardano-Hillary 13 points and Aleksa Gulbe chipped in with seven points and nine rebounds.

Patberg and Holmes were the primary closers in the fourth quarter with 10 and eight points, respectively, as IU went up by as many as 10 at 74-64.

The Hawkeyes and Clark, who was held to four points during the third quarter by Cardano-Hillary, made one more run. Megan Meyer hit a 3, then after Clark picked up her fourth foul on a reach-in, Holmes traveled. Clark drilled a 3 at the other end to cut the deficit to 79-75 with 3:42 to play.

Cardano-Hillary missed a 3 on the ensuing possession, but Gulbe grabbed the offensive rebound on the baseline as Clark banged into her, fouling out with 2:50 left. It was one of 13 offensive rebounds leading to 21 second-chance points for Indiana, which dominated the glass, 38-21.

“We had some timely (offensive rebounds),” Moren said. “Nikki had a big one, then Leks, that last one she got was a difficult rebound to go get and took Caitlin Clark out of the game with her fifth foul.”

Free throws salted away the game from there, Indiana going 8-of-11 in the final period to clinch no worse than the No. 2 seed for the Big Ten Tournament with its eighth straight win and tie the program record for Big Ten wins in a season with 15, matching the 1983 conference champs.

It also gives Indiana 28 Big Ten wins over the past two seasons, the most of any two-year stretch in program history.

As a result, the Hoosiers are exuding maturity and confidence heading into Saturday’s regular-season finale against Purdue.

“I think this is the best time of the year,” Berger said. “We feel like we’re playing our best individually and as a team. We’re kind of in a rhythm right now, heading into March, the Big Ten Touranment, the NCAA Tournament really confident and expecting to make a big run.”

19 comments

  1. TOUGH
    COMPOSED
    PASSIONATE
    Iowa freshman Clark and 3 ball and a couple others as well.
    IU Ladies executed game plan both defensively and offensively making adjustments and accepting challenges by coaching staff. Then, IU Ladies hit a couple 3 balls of their own, made free throws resulting in a good veteran mature win.

  2. Car-Hill gives this team sports car energy. Things are running overall smoother and faster with better play execution for the team.
    The Covid rule not that they will can…both, Ali and Key can come back next year???

  3. Not sure I can explain exactly why, but that game gave me more hope going into the BigTen tournament and NCAA than just about any game this season.
    They seem to be developing an attitude that they can’t be beaten, and it sure is fun for me to watch.
    GO IU!

  4. I said before the season started that this was the best IU women’s team ever and it has turned out to be true! T, it is my understanding that all players men and women’s will not have this season count against their eligibility? Seniors will be able to play another year, sounds good to me

  5. Thanks Mike C. for confirmation. That’s what I thought I heard Gregg M say as I was streaming 105.1 and watching game on big ten network.
    T. Moren, staff, and players have done a masterful job of putting team/program together, player/team development and growth thru the T. Moren years/era.
    Getting players in innovative and creative ways.
    (I never see any top American 100 high school girls basketball players committed to IU Ladies program straight from high school). Maybe, that may change in the future. (Other currently lesser successful programs including Purdue have American committed high school players from top 100 list straight out of high school).

  6. I was wondering in fact if Nikki would be able to advantage of the waiver and play again next year and I believe Jeremy answered that with the affirmative in a previous article. I too have hinted many times that IU cant seem to attract any of the high 100 rated players per ESPN. I think the highest was Penn at 39. Not sure why Madison Layden chose Purdue except its closer for her and she was #55 in the class. Clark was #4 but was from the state of Ia. so understandable.

  7. Steve W. Purdue has like three top 100 over a period of 3 present 3 years….Other teams as well…Purdue use to be good and ladies may go towards education interests but maybe IU can eventually start cashing in some in near future….at least as much as some others.

    1. The IU Ladies are making watching basketball fun again.

      Iowa’s freshman Clark is just an unbelievable talent. Female version of a Jimmy Rayl. (Yep I’m that old). She will be a thorn in IU’s side for 3 years.

      If I could construct a team, I’d prefer a team built similar to the current IU women’s. Three scored 22 points and add a 13 point scorer. I think having a player who hits 30+ on a routine basis takes away from the energy and the potential of the other team members.

      Example …. I hired a Physical Therapist for a short-term contract (25 yrs ago). Guy turns out to be 7’1″. Our YMCA team went from 5th place to finish first. It got boring. Throw the ball to the big guy, he gathers himself and elevates 3″ for the slam. I miss a shot, no biggie, he rebounds it and scores. Got to be too easy. Not so much fun.

  8. Ron, I am also quite old and since I am from Kokomo and I am very familiar with Jim Rayl since he was about 2 years ahead of me in high school. Clark is truly an unbelievable talent! She is so much fun to watch, why can’t we seem to get a talent like that? Although I am certainly not complaining about our team makeup! It’s such a shame we have been unable to watch this team in person this year:-( oh well, Go Hoosiers!!

  9. Looking at the bracket as It would be after the Iowa game puts the hawkeyes right back in the same side of the bracket with IU, can you beat a team 3 times in one season of this caliber. Either way thats the beauty of the big ten tourney.

  10. Not a fan of conference tourneys. See them as a 1) money generator 2) bubble teams can enhance their NCAA tourney seeding. Otherwise just potential injury and wear down the team prior to the big dance.

  11. There are a couple possible issues. With games set what if a team has a covid issue and cannot play as scheduled, do they forfeit that game. Yesterday during the Mary. / Mich. game said because of mens games being played during same time period not all womens games would be on BTN,,,, think they mentioned FS2,,, what is that dont have that channel. Also previously it was announced that during the first 2 rounds of womens NCAA there wouldnt be fans.

  12. That’s my argument for local Indiana tv channel Chesty Potato Chips or Stokely Van Camp type sponsors (for those who remember the good old days) with Gregg Murray televise at least a few IU Ladies basketball game. Does IU have such a tv channel agreement??? ATHLETIC DIRECTOR SCOTT DOLSON MAKE THAT HAPPEN…It will get you some fans and support.
    Maryland vs Michigan…There is Maryland and then everyone else in big ten Ladies basketball….though if IU Ladies would take care of the ball, shoot 65% from the field, hit 10 3 pointers, and shoot 21 for 24 from ft line…IU Ladies are capable….IU Ladies are capable to beat anyone in big ten and big ten teams are also capable of beating IU Ladies.

  13. Thanks, Jeremy for info. Another change example of what use to be. It needs to change back the way it use to be….A free market.

    1. You do not think the Big Ten has maximized it’s TV money with the present contract?

  14. Seems to me we have some bad blood building between Iowa and IU. An example of said is on one particular foul that Clark seemed to turn to the IU bench with some hard stares and it looked like she may have said some things.

  15. So I’ve made travel reservations and a hotel reservation to see the first two games of the NCAA women’s tournament, and the NCAA geniuses have decided to have no fans for the first two games?
    Perfect! No fans in a state that has no mask mandate. Bet the NCAA will allow fans for all the men’s game. Title 9 anybody?
    Well done NCAA! Once again, you have shown that even in today’s politically correct environment you have retained your ability to be totally tone-deaf.
    Color me ticked off.
    Steve, don’t forget Ohio State isn’t playing in the tournament. Not sure how that affects who IU might play.
    Ohio State isn’t playing because former OSU assistant coach “Klein is also cited for providing financial assistance to current players that “revealed problematic relationships between Klein and women’s basketball student-athletes.” According to the report, Klein utilized gifts to inappropriately befriend several members of the team.” (USA today) So the OSU women can’t play in the post season. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.
    Sorry to be such a grouch, but blast it, women just don’t get a fair shake.

Comments are closed.