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Three Things: Indiana Women’s Basketball beats Princeton 56-55

once again this state of New Jersey can hold this L

Princeton Tigers guard Abby Meyers (1) shoots against...
Look at that crowd!
Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Indiana Women’s Basketball is heading back to the Sweet Sixteen! The 3-seed Hoosiers took care of frisky 11-seed Princeton in dramatic fashion, 56-55. Here’s three things from last night at Assembly Hall:

The Game

This game was sick. Big runs, good shooting, and it came down to the wire. Let’s take it from the top:

Princeton was fouling from the jump. Ivy League Player of the Year Abby Meyers amassed two quick ones and subbed out at the 6 minute mark, and IU was in the bonus a minute later.

Nicole Cardaño-Hillary was menacing as ever early. The Grad Transfer had 8 points, a steal, and drew an offensive foul to end the quarter. After 10 minutes Princeton and IU were tied at 17, as all the fouls and stoppages were making it difficult for the opponents to figure each other out.

Indiana got it together offensively in the second. Runs of 13-4 and 10-0 put IU up 39-29 going into half. The Hoosiers were a ridiculous 9-11 (81.8%!!!) on their field goals in the second quarter. Triples from Ali Patberg and Chloe Moore-McNeil helped widen the gap. The key to winning in the postseason (and in general) is effective shooting, and the Hoosiers looked like a squad of 2k players hitting all greens in the second.

We saw Princeton close the gap in the third. PU won the quarter 13-6 and IU shot just 3-11 from the field during the frame. Things were getting scary! The Tigers were finding holes in the Hoosier defense, and Guards Kaitlyn Chen and Grace Stone were converting on the good looks they were getting from midrange. IU led by just 3 heading into the fourth.

The Tigers continued to claw back into the game, and even took a 50-49 lead with 5:19 remaining. As they’ve done all year, however, the Hoosiers kept their cool. Tied at 52 with just 38 seconds remaining, Coach Teri Moren called timeout and drew up old faithful: give the ball to Grace Berger and get the hell outta the way.

Berger took the ball at the top of the key and drove down the right alley, shedding her defender as she rolled back to her left hand in the paint. She then sidestepped a sliding Tiger and pulled the ball back into her right hand, tossing it in off the glass before being carried to the floor by her momentum. Up 54-52 with :29 remaining, the Hoosiers were a stop away from Bridgeport.

Next possession. Lockdown defender Ali Patberg followed Abby Meyers from the left wing to the top of the key, fighting her way through a tough screen as Kaitlyn Chen drove down the right side, attempting to attract as many Hoosier defenders as possible. Chen went up for a shot-to-tie, but then opted to kick it out to Meyers, waiting to take a buzzer beater three. The pass was off its mark, and went straight into the arms of the well-positioned Patberg. PU fouled immediately but with only a second and a half to work with, Aleksa Gulbe’s two good free throws iced the game. IU was Sweet Sixteen bound!

As per usual it was a well-rounded team effort from IU. Berger (15-7-1) and and her clutch gene were the headliners, but NCH (12-2-4), Mackenzie Holmes (10-8-2 blocks) get bumps too. Everyone balled out.

The Vibes

The vibes were immaculate last night at SSAH. Credit to my peers, IU students showed the heck out for this one. Attendance was listed at 9,627— which is the 3rd-biggest crowd in Indiana Women’s Basketball history! Awesome to see IUWBB get the kind of crowd they deserve night in and night out.

Also, the clips of the team running up into a FULL student section postgame are awesome. Cannot wait to see Assembly that packed next season.

The Sweet Sixteen

Mandatory homework for Hoosier fans this week: watch Miracle. Or Star Wars. Or any recent Super Bowl featuring the New England Patriots. Start learning how to destroy a Death Star, as Indiana will play UConn, the Evil Empire of Women’s Basketball, on Saturday. The Huskies have made twelve straight Final Fours. They’ve also won six titles during that stretch, including 4 straight from 2013-2016. The Big East Champs are a machine, but if IU plays up to standard there’s no reason they can’t be the wrench that blows the whole thing up.

UConn will also have a legitimate home court advantage in this one. The school’s campus in Storrs is just an hour fifteen drive from Bridgeport, so IU fans in attendance must be prepared to enter a hostile environment. It’ll be raucous. It’ll be fun.

Tip is set for 2pm this Saturday, and the game will be televised on ESPN. Winner gets the 1-NC State vs. 5-Notre Dame winner in the Elite Eight on Monday. Go Hoosier.