Things got weird in Lincoln, Nebraska last night. The fifth-ranked Indiana Hoosiers Women’s Basketball team got thoroughly outplayed by a very unafraid Cornhuskers squad. The loss drops IU to 18-4 on the year and 10-2 in Big Ten play.
Here’s a very cinematic three things:
Grace Berger continues to be a human highlight reel. The reigning Big Ten Player of the Week dropped a casual 20 points off of 9-15 shooting. She also took getting headbutted in the face like a champ. That’s pretty much it.
Indiana did not shoot very well last night.
The Cream and Crimson were an abysmal 23-72 from the field. That equates to 31.9%, which is good for the Hoosiers’ worst performance of the season; well below their average mark of 46%. In addition, IU went 0-10 from three in the first half, and finished the game 2-23 from beyond the arc. That’s 9%. That’s bad. Free throws were anything but free either, as IU shot just 54% (7-13) from the line. Nebraska’s 16 turnovers and comically bad 9-21 free throw shooting do little but add to the grossness of this game. It wasn’t pretty.
It’s clear that this team misses Mackenzie Holmes. UNL’s Forwards were forces to be reckoned with in the paint. They consistently finished offensively and won the rebounding battle easily, as freshman Alexis Markowski pulled down a ridiculous 15 boards.
Indiana looked tired, too. Last night was the Hoosiers’ fourth game in eight days, and only six players logged double-digit minutes. Fatigue is a merciless opponent, and the Hoosiers fell behind in both the second and fourth quarters because they ran out of gas. With a healthy Holmes, everyone gets a little more rest and the team becomes significantly deeper. Let’s hope #54 is back soon.
Although this game had a weird vibe throughout, things got downright bizarre in the fourth quarter. I mean, what the heck was that?
It started with a Grace Berger trip to the line at the 9:32 mark, IU down 52-47. She missed her first attempt but nailed the second. Indiana would fail to put the ball through the goal for the next 425 seconds.
The Hoosiers missed 12 consecutive shots, and watched rather haplessly as Nebraska scored 17 straight.
Nothing was going IU’s way. The ball was just bouncing funny. The rim, glass, hands, faces, shoes, it looked like the Holy Roller in basketball form. It was tough to watch.
Indiana were down 69-53 when they finally got a bounce. A Grace Berger three slowed the followed by a Nebraska turnover going the other way gave IU a quick five points in 12 seconds. The bleeding seemed to be slowing, but the cut was just too deep IU valiantly chucked from three for the remaining minutes, but the hole they’d dug with bad layup misses and subpar shot selection was too much to overcome.
In addition, the Hoosiers turned the ball over 3 times during the cursed stretch. They also amassed 5 fouls during the chaos, including a technical on Head Coach Teri Moren. Coach Moren entered the court to protest a questionable decision against Nicole Cardaño-Hillary, who was called for a foul despite being the one who got tripped. I have no qualms with the tech, as it was a classic “I gotta have my player’s back” moment, but it’s super frustrating that everything boiled over the way it did.
IU did not play well, no two ways about it, but the story of this game cannot be told without a critique of the officiating. It wasn’t great, and multiple instances of clock issues resulting in timeouts made getting into rhythm next to impossible. Get it together, B1G refs!
Indiana got socked in the mouth multiple times last night. Hopefully Thursday’s matchup with Northwestern can realign the chakras and get this team ready for a huge weekend. Caitlin Clark and Iowa visit Assembly for a big one on Senior Day this Saturday.
Bonus Good Thing
Forgot to mention, but in another game of note from this weekend Northwestern upset Michigan in double overtime. This means that despite the loss to Nebraska, IU remains atop the Big Ten standings. That ain’t bad!