No. 10 IU women ready for Purdue, not Senior Day

Senior Day was more than 24 hours away, and the tears were already starting to flow.

Indiana seniors Ali Patberg and Keyanna Warthen weren’t quite ready to think about what might be their last appearance at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall when the No. 10 Hoosiers host Purdue Saturday at 1 p.m.

Like all seniors, Patberg and Warthen will have the option to return next year due to the free year of eligibility the NCAA granted for COVID-19, so Senior Day might not be farewell.

“I don’t know. Personally, I haven’t decided what I’m going to do,” Patberg said. “I’m an emotional person, so … I try not to think about it.”

But it was too late, the mere thought brought tears.

“It’s an emotional topic,” Warthen added. “We don’t want to think of it as the last time playing there right now.”

The Hoosiers (17-4, 15-2 B1G) would rather stay in the present, where they are riding an eight-game winning streak into the regular-season finale and still have a chance to share the Big Ten title with a win and a Maryland loss to Penn State, even though IU is locked into the No. 2 seed for the Big Ten Tournament.

“We want to go out and play really well,” Patberg said. “We’ve been playing well and have a lot of momentum and we need that going into the tournament. We want to go out, we want to start strong and finish strong.”

A win over the Boilermakers would also mark a season-record for conference wins, surpassing the mark set by the 1983 Big Ten champs and matched by the current Hoosiers.

Rivalry game or not, that’s plenty of motivation.

“I don’t know if it matters who it is, it just happens to be Purdue,” IU coach Teri Moren said.

This will be the second meeting between the teams this season. Indiana won the first matchup 66-45 in West Lafayette, holding the Boilermakers (7-14, 4-13) scoreless for an 11-minute stretch. Moren credits her team’s preparation for that kind of effort.

“We rely a lot on our defense, and whenever you can follow a scouting report the way our kids can — they’re very serious about their preparation,” Moren said. “We’ve never taken any game lightly.

“… Our coaches do an extraordinary job of making sure our players are prepared.”

That’s been the job of assistant head coach Rhet Wierzba, in particular, since he arrived in Bloomington with Moren from Indiana State. He’s done it well enough to prompt IU sophomore standout Mackenzie Holmes to recently proclaim, “Coach Rhet knows Purdue better than Purdue knows Purdue.”

“That’s how well he’s been able to scout them and help our players inside of the game, whether it’s actions, whether it’s out of bounds (plays),” Moren said. “Give Rhet, give my coaches credit for making sure we’re always prepared.”

However, that doesn’t mean Indiana can rest on the laurels of what it’s done during a four-game winning streak against its in-state rival, winning seven of the last eight meetings overall.

“They are running a few different actions we’re not used to, we’ve not seen, so we’ll be ready for those,” Moren said. “I think we’ll see a team in Purdue that will come in here and try to keep us off-balance, probably with makes and misses, a little bit of their 2-2-1 press to slow us down.

“… They’ve had a week off, so more than enough time for rest and preparation, and there’s no greater rivalry than IU and Purdue. They’ll come here and like every other team has, they’ll give us their very, very best.”

Indiana’s senior plan to return the favor.

“I think we all take this game as a statement game, finish out strong,” Warthen said. “Not just because they’re Purdue, but because we’re good enough to beat anybody.”

13 comments

  1. Key Warthen is a really really good example regarding her college career role buy-in of IU Ladies basketball program including T. Moren and staff. And yes it is exemplified how good not only T. Moren but assistant coaches as well are tuned in with IU Ladies team of players and one another.

  2. Key has a great attitude no matter if she would like more minutes, for her it seems she’s locked in on team first , whatever she can do to help the team win she will do, can you ask for more than that .

  3. I’m not a wide-eyed fanatic but, come on, it’s the last home game of the season. Think one person could breach The Hall? 17,000 seats, would they find me before the game starts? I’ll triple mask, wear an isolation gown and carry a pint of disinfection jell & proof of immunization. (I’ll have to fake the immunization)

    Probably just watch it on TV. Oh, it’s the men’s game on? Boring.

  4. Only have watched a very small sample set of women’s games….(honesty…like one half of one game), but here’s my take.

    The Spanish girl is a firecracker. She’s the engine. She’s the sort of backcourt energy and grit missing from the men’s game. Sorry I don’t remember her name off the top of my head…I think there was a discussion on a thread where someone got on people for mispronouncing her name.

    Anyway, it’s easy to tell that young lady will never shy from a big moment. Tough as nails. I also like the girl who plays in the middle. She’s quick. McKenzie?

    Essentials : Crafty and gritty point guard. Quickness and agility at the post. Women’s team has it. Men’s team …not so much.

  5. The “firecracker” I was struggling to remember is Nicole Cardaño-Hillary. Agile and quick center is Mackenzie Holmes… My apologies.

    They do play very well as a team….Hire Teri Moren NOW…as next men’s HEAD BASKETBALL coach!

  6. Beware. If you watch IU Ladies basketball a few times a basketball fan will become addicted…due to T. Moren and staff being creative recruiting, setting expectations, and player/team development. Example: C-Hillary was a scorer from lesser basketball school but when she transferred to IU…C-Hillary was told if she is going to play much she had to play defense. So Penn opted out C-Hillary becomes a permanent starter.

  7. And who’s the last post player on the men’s team who was comfortable facing the basket and being patient….? Someone who can gather the feet …have a quick and balanced first step….offer a pump fake…shoot a nice kiss of the glass ….or kick a quick bullet pass to outside guard as the defense collapses? Quickness, sure feet, agility, ability to not just play with the back to the hoop, and a soft jumper to go with a myriad of post moves? Transition and dunks…transition and dunks. But where is the lost art of the inside game? Where is the craftiness and inventiveness around the paint (not to mention the ability to drain a quick free throw distance shot while facing the basket and assessing the floor) supplemented by balance, quickness and vision? That sort of teaching and development isn’t going to work once already on the college scene….It has to begin from the first moments a basketball is ever introduced to a young lad/lady. Why can’t old school be reinvented into a supreme talent? Oops, never mind ….It can. Luka Doncic.

  8. H4H If you would accidently even watch a whole womens game you might learn even more about this team. Yes I happen to agree with your comments on the 2 players. Many so-called mens only ball watchers are missing out on some really good IU women basketball or basketball period.

    1. I’ll take you up on that…But you don’t want H4H, yours truly, polluting up your nice fresh air over here on the women’s threads.

      Nice lookin’ team. Then again, aren’t women always better ‘team players’ in all facets of life than men? Far more unselfish…Far more understanding of the importance of not having a weak link…Forge relationships and put the work in to repair relationships. Far more the glue of most families? Maybe they’re simply the products of better evolutionary wiring for a team game? Men are gloating ball hogs….who care more about being a high draft pick or an “All-star” than forming lifelong bonds and team chemistry built for high school and college ball. Maybe I’m being too simplistic…Maybe society as a whole is just far more individualistic and the new communication systems in a social media/internet world only serves to feed the narcissism beast to put oneself constantly on display?

      1. Men’s game $$$ potential if pro enough.
        Women’s perspective as maybe men’s game was many years ago.
        Conclusion: tradition as in team and family culture ruined by way of $$$$$$.

  9. I like to refer to the spanish girl as Nikki which some people call her or even NCH for short.

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