The final home game for four Indiana seniors didn’t go as planned.
In a matchup of strengths, Iowa’s offense was too much for Indiana’s defense. The Hawkeyes shot 56.7 percent from the field including 10-of-19 (52.6 percent) from three and defeated IU 96-91 in Bloomington.
Indiana trailed throughout, including by as much as 22 points early in the fourth quarter before making things interesting in the closing minutes.
The Hoosiers were led by Aleksa Gulbe’s 22 points. Grace Berger added 21 points, six rebounds and four assists. Ali Patberg had 18 points and six rebounds. Gulbe, Patberg, Nicole Cardano-Hillary and Grace Waggoner all played their final regular season game at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, although head coach Teri Moren reminded it may not be their final contest in the building.
“We’re not done yet,” Moren said. “Hopefully we’re going to host in the NCAA (Tournament).”
Indiana couldn’t get anything going in the first, shooting just 26.7 percent from the floor as they fell behind 25-11 after one. The Hoosiers cut the lead down to single digits on an and-1, transition layup and and-1 from Patberg and Gulbe to make it 30-21 with 6:47 in the second quarter. But Iowa would outscore Indiana the rest of the frame 18-6, and take a 46-29 lead at the break.
“We looked a little shell shocked in the first half, in the first quarter in particular,” head coach Teri Moren said. “Just couldn’t get any offense generated, couldn’t get any stops. And give credit to Iowa. I don’t have any issues saying that they were really good today.”
The lead grew larger for Iowa in the third quarter, taking its largest advantage of 24 with 4:51 left.
Indiana mounted a comeback in the fourth quarter, scoring 42 points to set a new program and Big Ten record for points in a single quarter. Berger and Gulbe combined for 25 of the 42 points as IU shot 57 percent in the last quarter, but the effort was just a bit too late to overcome the hot shooting Hawkeyes.
The loss knocked IU (19-5, 11-3) out of the Big Ten lead by percentage points. They join Maryland (12-3) and Michigan (11-3) at the top of the standings in the loss column. The Hoosiers will travel to Iowa for a Monday rematch.
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