Photo by Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

Not a good night in Indianapolis: IU women drop first game at Big Ten Tournament

Just blocks away in downtown Indianapolis on Thursday evening, dueling IU basketball disappointments were playing out in concert.

The IU women’s basketball team saw their nine-game winning streak come to an end at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse on Thursday night in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal round.

Head coach Teri Moren’s No. 2 seeded Hoosiers appeared primed to continue their winning ways as they took a 34-26 lead into halftime against Michigan State.  They might have come out of the halftime locker rooms a bit too confident in that outcome.

The Spartans jumped on the Hoosiers out of the break, quickly capitalizing on errors which gave them a one-point advantage less than three minutes into the third. The lead would be exchanged on nine occasions but MSU’s Nia Clouden hit a pair of free throws to give the Spartans a 47-45 edge going into the fourth quarter.  Clouden would go on to score 30 points, 27 of which came in the second half.

The Hoosiers closed the game with 17 turnovers, tied for the most they have had in a game this season.

“We lost our composure, our poise in the second half,” Moren said after the game.

MSU would continue to build a lead in the fourth.  Trailing 59-50 with under eight minutes to go, Indiana used a 6-0 run to cut the gap to three at 59-56.  Senior guard Ali Patberg, who scored nine of her 12 points in the second half, had back-to-back buckets to cut the deficit back to five. A Mackenzie Holmes layup that followed after the media timeout put IU within three, but it would get no closer as the Hoosiers didn’t score in the final 1:43 of play.

Michigan State outscored IU 43-27 after the break and pulled away for a 69-61 win.

Indiana’s recently named All-Big Ten stars did their part.

Grace Berger led the Hoosiers with 19 points. Holmes scored 17 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field. Holmes added 10 rebounds for her eighth career double-double.  Patberg scored 12 points and added a team-high six assists.

Unlike their counterparts who lost down the street at Lucas Oil Stadium, this does not mark the end of the season.

“Coach Moren said we gotta shelf it because we have much bigger games ahead of us,” Holmes said. “We can’t keep looking back to this one, we just gotta move on and keep on pushing.”

No. 9 Indiana (18-5) can indeed shelf it and still look forward to the biggest prize.  The Texas based NCAA Tournament is a certainty for Moren’s Hoosiers.  IU will await their NCAA Tournament opponent with the selection show set for Monday, March 15 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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