A once promising season that saw Indiana ranked in the top-5 and in first place in the Big Ten by multiple games has ended on a sour note.
No. 10 Indiana couldn’t quite get over the hump as it fell in its regular season finale, 67-64, at No. 13 Maryland on Friday night. The Hoosiers have lost three straight and four of five games to conclude league play.
A stop on defense for the Hoosiers with 46 seconds to go gave them the ball back, and point guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary hit a step back three to make it a one-point game, 65-54, with just 34.4 to go.
But the Hoosiers couldn’t get a stop on the next possession as Maryland’s Katie Benzan took it to the rim and scored with 11.8 remaining. The Hoosiers took an off balance shot to tie the game in the last second but came up empty.
Indiana (19-7, 11-5 B1G) trailed 19-10 after the opening frame and got down by as many as 12 early in the second quarter before a pair of 3-pointers from sophomore guard Chloe Moore-McNeil and senior forward Aleksa Gulbe made it 22-17.
Maryland built another double-digit lead with 3:37 remaining but a stop and pop in transition for Moore-McNeil and a triple by Ali Patberg in the corner to end the half put the Hoosiers within five, 37-32, at the break.
Finding themselves in double-digit hole again in the third, Grace Berger’s signature pull-up jumper and another Patberg triple helped the Hoosiers get back within six, 49-43. The Terps (21-7, 13-4 B1G) would continue to respond as Moore-McNeil brought IU within four as Berger hit her for the baseline 3-pointer with 1:24 to go.
They would keep it within four going in to the fourth quarter and kept it a two-possession game as a Patberg swipe led to a Gulbe runout with 7:22 remaining. Maryland would push its advantage to eight with just over four and a half remaining. Junior forward Mackenzie Holmes took a feed from Berger on the left side and scored as she drew with foul, as she kept the game within four on two occasions late in the frame.
- With four assists on the night, Patberg joined Tyra Buss (574) and Tisha Hill (533) as the third player in school history to record 500 career assists.
- Five players scored in double figures behind Berger’s second double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. She also added six assists.
- Patberg added 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting including a 3-for-4 effort from 3-point range.
- Gulbe and Holmes each added 11 points while each had eight and six rebounds, respectively. Indiana shot 41 percent from the floor and were outrebounded, 39-36.
The Hoosiers await the final Big Ten Tournament bracket, which will be finalized after the conclusion of games on Sunday. The Big Ten Tournament runs from March 2-6 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Indiana should end up as the No. 5 seed, meaning they will not get a double bye and will play on Thursday. In that spot, IU will play the winner of the 12/13 game, currently Wisconsin and Rutgers.
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