Indiana Women’s Basketball set a new season-high scoring mark earlier tonight, as they handily defeated Illinois 93-61. The win moves IU 17-3 on the year, while the loss drops UIUC to 6-13. Both teams kept their respective spots in the Big Ten standings, as the 9-1 Hoosiers sit in second and the 1-7 Illini remain in 13th.
Nothing too crazy to say as this became a typical IUWBB throttling rather quickly, but here’s three things:
Ali Patberg is #back
Patberg has been in a bit of a shooting slump as of late, and IU’s trip to Champaign may have been exactly what the doctor ordered. Tonight was the first time we’ve seen her shoot over 40% since January 5th, as Patberg was 9-15 from the field, finishing with 26 points. She also hit 4 of IU’s 10 three-pointers, including a big one at the 2:30 mark in the first quarter.
IU only had possession because Patberg chased down an errant rebound, using her motor to take a NASCAR-type turn around an Illinois defender. She scooped the loose ball away from said Illini player, who seemed to think that possessing the basketball was relative, and called her own number seconds later, putting IU up 24-6.
Everything this team does flows a little more smoothly when Patberg is in rhythm, it feels very good to watch #14 put the ball through the hoop.
Indiana also saw solid performances from Grace Berger and Aleksa Gulbe. Berger finished with 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists while Gulbe tallied 18, 7, and 1. Nicole Cardaño-Hillary had 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, and Kiandra Browne’s 6, 6, and 3 rounded out the starting box score for IU.
Unlike the men last night at Northwestern, all healthy players played tonight for the Women. The second unit ran the offense well and consistently got good looks. Kaitlin Peterson and Chloe Moore-McNeil saw extended action, each shooting 4-7 from the field and combining for 4 three-pointers.
Peterson was largely filling in for Nicole Cardaño-Hillary, who exited the game with 3:23 remaining in the third after landing on an Illini sneaker during a shot attempt. NCH stayed on the bench for the rest of the game, but was up and walking normally shortly after checking out. We’ll keep an eye on her ankle moving forward, but we don’t believe it to be anything serious.
Watching CMM and Peterson shoot well was super encouraging. Grace Waggoner is also proving to be a very trustworthy defender. Having options heading into the post-season is the best form of insurance out there, and Teri Moren isn’t skimping on her policy. Arielle Wisne and Mona Zaric also saw the court Hoosiers as they both continue to develop.
The Road Ahead
IU has a couple quick turnarounds coming up on the schedule. They’ll host Michigan State this Saturday before visiting Nebraska next Monday. Indiana will then return to Assembly Hall for the last two home games of the season, playing Northwestern next Thursday 2/17 and Iowa on Sunday 2/20. All fans should have the Hoosiers’ Senior Day tilt with the Hawkeyes circled, the game will likely have big conference seeding implications.
Lock in folks, this last stretch of the regular season is going to be a fun one. IU Athletics is advertising $1 tickets for the MSU game so if you don’t already have plans Saturday, consider checking this team out. They’re a fun group.