Photo by Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

IU women’s basketball falls in Big Ten title game to Iowa

Indiana lost to Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament championship game by a final score of 74-67 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

The Hoosiers were led by Grace Berger with 20 points.  Nicole Cardano-Hillary added 19 for the Hoosiers.  IU made just 4-of-19 (21.1 percent) from behind the 3-point line for the game and 37.7 percent overall as their offense struggled to establish momentum for most of the game.

The exception came when the Hoosiers jumped out to a 40-35 lead as a result of a 12-0 run that spanned the end of the first half and start of the second.  But Iowa responded with a 16-8 close to the third quarter and never relinquished the lead again.  After struggling somewhat in the first half, Iowa’s powerful offense was efficient in the second, making 15-of-27 shots (55.6 percent).

Iowa center Monika Czinano posted 30 points on 13-of-18 shooting and added 10 rebounds.  Indiana struggled to limit her post touches, and couldn’t stop her when she got it down low.

“She’s (Czinano) one of the best post players in the country for a reason, and she’s surrounded by really good players. She’s so good at positioning, taking shots that she’s hard to stop,” Berger said after the game.

Indiana (22-8) will now await its NCAA Tournament fate.  After knocking off a pair of ranked teams in Indianapolis over the last few days, the Hoosiers are expected to be a top-four seed, and thus a host school for the first two rounds.

They will enjoy a home court advantage much like they did throughout their time at the Big Ten Tournament.  The 8,709 fans at the championship game were mostly pulling for IU.

“Just a real quick thank you to our fans, Hoosier Nation, who showed up here in Indianapolis to support our team,” IU coach Teri Moren said.  “It meant a lot. And we’re really grateful.

“I do think we’ve positioned ourselves to host in the NCAA Tournament. So we’ll look forward to having Hoosier Nation back in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.”

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