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IU women’s basketball defeats No. 1 seed Ohio State, headed to Big Ten title game

No. 5 seed Indiana took down its second straight lower-seeded foe on Saturday when the Hoosiers knocked off No. 1 Ohio State 70-62 at the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.

The Hoosiers put five in double-figures led by Nicole Cardano-Hillary’s 16 points.  She added 11 rebounds and five assists.  Ali Patberg added 15 points and made 3-of-7 from beyond the 3-point arc.  Indiana never trailed in the game despite dealing with the absence of starting forward Aleksa Gulbe, who had an illness but was able to eventually play 14 minutes, including 11 in the second half.

With Gulbe limited, IU had to adjust on the fly.

“We asked our guards to rebound the ball today, and look at the stat sheet, and Nikki has 11,” IU head coach Teri Moren said.  “She has a double double. She has 11 of our rebounds, which was terrific, just her hustle and her play.”

Going to the fourth with a 57-48 lead, Indiana got its largest lead of the night at 13 as Patberg found Cardaño-Hillary on a back door to take a 66-53 lead.  However, Ohio State would make a final run with just under a minute to play as it came within two possessions. Forced to foul, the Buckeyes would send IU to the line as Cardaño-Hillary finally put the game away with 18 seconds remaining.

Playing in place of Gulbe at the outset, sophomore guard Chloe Moore-McNeil got her second start of the season on Saturday afternoon. She scored 11 points with three rebounds and two assists.

“I don’t think any of us were anticipating that Lex was going to be sick and not able to go until later in the game,” Moren said.  “But I thought Chloe stepped up in a big kind of way. She was terrific in the first quarter of play.”

IU advanced to the Big Ten tournament championship game for the first time in 20 years.

“It was a great collective effort by our, the Hoosiers today, and just really proud, really proud of how these guys showed up and executed,” Moren said.

They will face No. 2 Iowa on Sunday at 4 p.m. Eastern in Indianapolis.  That game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse will be televised by ESPN2.

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NOTABLE

  • Cardaño-Hillary recorded her first double-double of the season.
  • Mackenzie Holmes recorded her second straight game in double figures with 12. Holmes grabbed three rebounds and two blocks.
  • Grace Berger was also in double figure scoring, scoring 10 points. Berger was the Hoosiers’ assists leader with seven.
  • Indiana won the rebound battle, tallying 37 boards compared to Ohio State’s 30. They improve to 18-0 when outrebounding an opponent this season.
  • Indiana had 20 assists on 24 made shots.
  • Indiana was able to force Ohio State to shoot 19 percent from the 3-point line.

The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”