(Photo Credit: IndianaHQ)

BLOOMINGTON, IN– After four games on the road in Puerto Rico and in Illinois, IU women’s basketball hosted Penn State at home on New Year’s Eve. Playing in front of a season-high crowd of 4,481, the Lady Hoosiers won over the Lady Lions, 83-75, improving to 13-1 (2-0 BIG).

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Both teams spent a while adapting to referees’ calls and struggled from the field in the first half. Penn State got 13 personal fouls in just 20 minutes, while the Hoosiers’ shooting was only 31.3 percent overall. “It wasn’t pretty offensively. You have to remind your defense because that’s what we always fall back on,” head coach Teri Moren said. “That’s the beauty of basketball. If you’re not shooting well, you can defend well,” Ali Patberg added.

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Penn State University head coach Coquese Washington was arguing about referees’ calls.

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Aleksa Gulbe’s (#10) layup added 2 pts for the team.

In the third quarter, Jaelynn Penn’s fast break increased the Lady Hoosiers’ morale, and the team’s FG rate also went up to 56.3%. Although Penn State still tied up as close as 56-55, Indiana capitalized on drawing fouls and standing on the free throw line. The team’s 31-37 made free throws tied for the third-most in a single game in program history.

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Jaelynn Penn (#13) contributed 10 pts, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals.

In the fourth, Patberg’s stable jump shots, and Brenna Wise’s 100% FG rate and FT rate contributed 22 points in total and pushed the game out of reach. The Lady Hoosiers finally survived the Lady Lion’s predation and won their second Big Ten game.

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Though it seemed an emotional game, Moren said the team had been in that situation before in nonconference schedules, and this time the Lady Hoosiers showed a calm demeanor. “We like adversity, and just try to fight through it,” Wise expressed how the team embraced difficulties.

While Bendu Yeaney’s offensive performance was not so outstanding in this game (9 pts), head coach Teri Moren gave credits to her defensive contribution. “Teniya Page (24 pts) is a really good player. She is a pro. She is very difficult to guard, but I thought that we still did a really good job on her, and Bendu in particular, had that assignment. I’m really proud of our kids,” Moren said.

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Bendu Yeaney (#1) defended well and also contributed 9 pts.

Another noticeable thing was that Patberg wore a mask in this game. Although this was her first time wearing a mask, and she only had one day to adjust to it, apparently the mask didn’t become a distraction for Patberg. “She is coming off of a little bit of a fracture in her nose and was back and forth about using a mask. She chose to use it and I was worried if that would affect her. Obviously, it didn’t. And she showed maturity and leadership quality,” Moren said.

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Although this was her first time wearing a mask, Ali Patberg (#14) was not distracted and contributed 26 pts, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.

Playing on the road in Puerto Rico gave lessons to the Lady Hoosiers. Instead of 3-0, Indiana came back 2-1, losing the game versus Grambling State University. However, the Lady Hoosiers won in the final game versus South Dakota, which Teri Moren thought was the greatest team Indiana had met. “We are not looking back. We gonna move forward. Whether you win or lose, we have to get better,” Moren expressed the lesson the Hoosiers had learned.

What Wise said after the game versus Penn State also demonstrated this lesson. “We can’t get too high. So a win is a win, we’ll celebrate it tonight, Happy New Year, and we have to move on to the next one.” Next game, the Lady Hoosiers will host Michigan State at home at 2 P.M. on January 6th.

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