No. 10 IU women bounce back with 30-point win over Penn State in Big Ten opener

·5 min read

BLOOMINGTON — Ali Patberg is always among IU’s most emotional players on the floor. She’s intense, reacting with arms in the air and surprise at seemingly every foul call or an emphatic yell and flex with every big basket.

But with still 15 minutes to go in IU’s Big Ten opener against Penn State, she beamed and gave a high five to Kiandra Browne. She could smile with so much time to play because IU had dominated. It had a lead it knew it wouldn’t give up.

And after three games with poor shooting — leading to two losses — 10th-ranked IU had seemed to find its rhythm again in a 70-40 win over Penn State (4-5) on Monday at Assembly Hall. Coach Teri Moren, though, said she hadn’t seen any change in confidence from her team.

“My job is to completely support and give our kids confidence,” Moren said. “My job is to pour into them and support them and encourage them and give them confidence, and that’s where it stays.”

IU (6-2) started slow in the first quarter but pulled away thanks to outscoring Penn State 42-17 over the second and third quarters to build a 30-point lead. In the third quarter, IU had a 21-0 run that lasted nearly eight minutes.

IU averaged 35% from the field over its past three games. On Monday, IU shot 51% from the field and 43% on 3-pointers.

“It’s a great bounce-back game for us,” Moren said. “It’s great to see the ball go in the basket.”

The game wasn’t perfect as IU committed 18 turnovers. But on the other end of the floor, IU’s defense was dominant. And with so much going right, players and coaches saw confidence emanating from different places.

Indiana Hoosiers guard Nicole Cardano-Hillary (4) attempts a shot over Penn State Nittany Lions guard Leilani Kapinus (5) during the game against Penn State at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall Monday evening.
Indiana Hoosiers guard Nicole Cardano-Hillary (4) attempts a shot over Penn State Nittany Lions guard Leilani Kapinus (5) during the game against Penn State at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall Monday evening.

Nicole Cardaño-Hillary said IU’s success on defense gave it confidence to take shots on offense. Moren said the stellar defense came from the confidence of making shots.

“I focus a lot on my defense and hopefully shots end up falling,” Cardaño-Hillary said.

IU’s defense forced 22 turnovers and held Penn State to 19-of-56 (34%) from the field. Penn State did not shoot a single free throw.

Cardaño-Hillary herself maybe had the biggest bounce-back game, and she needed it. She scored two points against Miami and zero against N.C. State. She hadn’t made a 3 since Thanksgiving against Stanford.

On Monday, she was second on IU in scoring with 14 points. She made three 3-pointers and pulled down a team leading seven rebounds. Cardaño-Hillary, notably, is IU’s shortest player (5-6).

Cardaño-Hillary said her mindset is always the same in each game, even when she’s struggling. She’s going to keep shooting. Against Penn State, those shots finally fell.

“Nikki is a shooter, and she can shoot the ball any time she touches it,” forward Mackenzie Holmes said. “She can miss seven, and I’ll have confidence she’ll make the eighth every time.”

Holmes led IU in scoring with 16 points. All five of IU’s starters had double-digit points — and all five are averaging double-figure scoring per game this year — though it was another quiet night for Grace Berger with 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting.

Maybe this wasn’t Berger’s bounce-back game, but Moren believes that game will come.

“It’s my job is to put my arm around her and reminder that she's one of the best players in the country,” Moren said. “Grace Berger will start whether its Thursday night whether its Saturday. Grace Berger is going to be Grace Berger.”

IU will return to nonconference play Thursday against Fairfield in Assembly Hall.


No. 10 Indiana 70, Penn St. 40

PENN ST. (4-5): Camden 1-3 0-0 3, Brigham 4-10 0-0 8, Beverley 0-3 0-0 0, Kapinus 2-8 0-0 4, Marisa 10-22 0-0 21, Burke 1-5 0-0 2, Hagans 0-2 0-0 0, Jekot 0-0 0-0 0, Sabel 0-1 0-0 0, Thornton 1-2 0-0 2, Thomas 0-0 0-0 0, Team 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 19-56 0-0 40

INDIANA (6-2): Gulbe 3-6 4-4 11, Holmes 7-10 2-2 16, Berger 3-8 4-4 10, Cardano-Hillary 5-12 1-2 14, Patberg 6-9 1-2 15, Wisne 0-0 0-0 0, Waggoner 0-0 0-0 0, Berry 0-0 0-0 0, Browne 1-1 0-0 2, Moore-McNeil 1-1 0-0 2, Peterson 0-4 0-2 0, Zaric 0-0 0-0 0, Team 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 26-51 12-16 70

Penn St. 13 8 9 10 — 40

Indiana 18 19 23 10 — 70

3-Point Goals—Penn St. 2-16 (Camden 1-3, Beverley 0-2, Marisa 1-7, Burke 0-3, Hagans 0-1), Indiana 6-14 (Gulbe 1-2, Cardano-Hillary 3-6, Patberg 2-3, Peterson 0-3). Assists_Penn St. 10 (Kapinus 3), Indiana 13 (Cardano-Hillary 5). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Penn St. 24 (Marisa 2-5), Indiana 37 (Holmes 3-6). Total Fouls_Penn St. 17, Indiana 9. Technical Fouls_None. A_3,224.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Indiana women's basketball beats Penn State by 30 in Big Ten opener

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting