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Indiana women’s basketball comes back, downs Penn State 75-67

The Hoosiers trailed at the half but rallied in the second.

Penn State v Indiana Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

It wasn’t pretty, but Indiana found a way.

Wednesday evening’s 75-67 win at Assembly Hall was earned and by every member of the team who logged minutes.

This Penn State team is not to be taken lightly, it’s not your usual Nittany Lions unit. They take, and typically make, shots from deep and presented a real trap game threat for an Indiana team coming off of a 12-game winning streak.

For a while, it looked like they may just live up to that billing. The Hoosiers trailed 21-17 after the first quarter and 39-34 after yet another buzzer-beater 3-pointer banked in as the Lions celebrated.

It wasn’t from 3s though, each defense was locking down the perimeter with a combined five makes from deep between both teams at the half. Penn State was just getting to the rim and Indiana wasn’t able to keep up on defense while failing to convert its own attempts.

The Lions were relentless on defense, keeping the Hoosiers away from the arc and getting into passing lanes to create pressure. Anytime Holmes caught the ball the Lions sent two in coverage.

It all reminded Moren of something: last year’s loss to Miami in the NCAA Tournament.

“They jumped on us, right, that first half,” Moren said. “I don’t want that to happen. I’m going to try to make sure we can prevent that happening by working on it right now as we move forward.”

Of the Lions’ 39 first half point, 30 came in the paint. They kept getting to the bucket on drives with just eight assists on their 18 made baskets. For a team with the size and experience of Indiana, that’s a bit of a surprising number.

“That’s kind of ridiculous,” Sydney Parrish said. “We’ve just got to be more disciplined on the defensive end.”

Not a lot was going well, and it showed at halftime. Penn State was the first team out of the locker room for warmups as Indiana took its time.

“Had to get after them and they responded,” Moren said.

Both Parrish and Chloe Moore-McNeil were vocal in the locker room, Moren added.

The second half didn’t start much better than the first, with Penn State pushing its lead to 45-36 just under three minutes into the third quarter. In a hole, Indiana started getting the stops it needed and getting the ball to HOLMES and Parrish in the paint as the Hoosiers chipped away.

Moore-McNeil got caught in the paint on a drive and had to exit the game after walking back to the bench gingerly. After some time with trainers and a minute in the locker room, she was back on the bench and then the floor shortly after.

She’d previously tweaked her ankle this season and did so again, Moren said. The coaching staff told her they’d take her out if necessary but Moore-McNeil refused.

“That’s just the toughness Chloe has,” Moren said.

A 3 from Parrish brought them within one. Between free throws and layups, Indiana was able to reclaim the lead it lost early and didn’t relinquish it from there.

“We played mad, which was good,” Moren said.

She noted that Indiana was better overall in the second half, particularly on the defensive end. Penn State scored just 12 points in the third to Indiana’s 21. It was necessary given all the holes Indiana found itself in.

Indiana won’t see Penn State again in the regular season but this was ultimately an experience the program would rather have than not. After some relatively easy wins, a bit of a rough one provides a lesson without the loss.

They’re gonna see another team that challenges them like this at some point. It’ll help to have this tape.