A start and stop season is quickly turning into an up and down season for Indiana.
The No. 15 Hoosiers turned in another dud against a Southeastern Conference opponent on Thursday, getting outrebounded and outshot in a 66-58 loss to Tennessee at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
Thursday’s contest, which was added to the schedule only three days ago, unfolded in frustrating fashion for IU (2-2), which trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half, connected on merely 7.4% of its 3-point attempts and lost on the glass, 51-38.
Indiana never led, but climbed back to within a single possession three times during the final quarter. Ultimately, IU made only one of its final 12 shots from the field and managed only six points across the final seven minutes of the afternoon.
That’s two straight games that IU’s offense has choked in the fourth quarter. The Hoosiers suffered from a similar scoring drought in their four-point loss at Kentucky on Dec. 6, and across both games, Indiana combined to shoot 24% from the field while going 0-for-8 from 3-point range in the final period. Yikes.
Ali Patberg led IU with 16 points, and has scored in double figures in 18 of her last 19 games. Jaelynn Penn added 14 points and Aleksa Gulbe scored 10 for the Hoosiers. Patberg and Penn, however, combined to make merely one of the 15 3-point shots between them.
On the (kinda?) bright side, George Mason transfer Nicole Cardaño-Hillary made her Hoosier debut on Thursday after the NCAA’s D1 Council recently approved a blanket waiver giving all transfers immediate eligibility. She went scoreless with one steal in six minutes off the bench.
Indiana opens Big Ten season against Nebraska on Sunday at 4 p.m. That game will air on Big Ten Network.