Sunday was another golden opportunity for the Indiana women’s basketball program to get some sort of redemption from the previous ranked matchups this season. Traveling to Columbus to take on No. 8 Ohio State, it was another top-10 showdown — but the same result; a loss.
Despite a strong first half effort, the Hoosiers stumbled in the second half, falling to the Buckeyes 74-69. While the other losses to Iowa and Stanford stung due to the final result and the lack of competitiveness — this one on Sunday may haunt Indiana more. Why? Because they knew exactly what they were going up against. There was absolutely no surprise. Yet, the defensive pressure from Ohio State caused fits for Indiana all game long.
“We knew that they were going to press,” Indiana women’s basketball head coach Teri Moren said postgame. “We had two days to prepare for it and it’s making sure I’ve got the pieces in the right place, and the right decision-makers in the right place … That’s what they feed off of, their press and creating turnovers and causing turnovers and scoring. It wasn’t like we were surprised by it, but we just didn’t handle it very well today.”
Indiana had a season-high 23 turnovers on the afternoon which resulted in 21 points of turnovers for Ohio State. The Buckeyes outscored IU 21-4 in that category.
11 of those turnovers came in the third quarter — a massive swing in the game.
Indiana had a five-point lead at the half but saw that wipe away quickly as the Buckeyes had a 23-10 edge in the third quarter, including a 16-2 run from the 6:03 mark to 2:01. It was a 42-39 lead for Indiana that turned into a 55-44 lead for the Buckeyes. Indiana had six turnovers in that span.
“Ohio state tends to be a very, very good third quarter team,” Moren said. “We tried to prepare our guys for that and the aggressiveness that was going to come with the press. The first four minutes got away from us and I thought we lost all momentum (from that point on).
“21 points off of our turnovers that’s the game right there. You can dissect it any way you want but that’s the game, 21 points off of our turnovers.”
Four players for the Indiana women’s basketball program had at least three turnovers, and three had at least five.
With Sunday’s loss, Indiana falls to solo third in the Big Ten at 9-2 — behind 10-1 records for both Iowa and Ohio State.
Following its first Big Ten Championship in over 40 years last season, Indiana came into this year with most of its main core returning. Like Iowa and Ohio State, it was going to be a battle between that trio of teams for this year’s regular season title.
At this point, it’s an uphill battle for Indiana — although not totally out of reach. Unfortunately, it’ll need some help.
Indiana has just one more matchup against either Iowa or Ohio State, that comes at home against the Hawkeyes on Feb. 22. Ohio State plays at Iowa on Iowa’s senior day on Match 3 — the final game of the regular season.
There is still a possibility for a three-way tie at the top for a split of the regular season title. But, if not, the second half — and more specifically the four minute stretch in the third quarter could be what holds IU out of that.
“There’s a lot of things I’d like to do different, but you don’t get second chances,” Moren said. “I’ll take all the blame for the press attack today … I think all of us, like I said, are always guilty of one or two that we wish we could have back. And you can’t do that against a team like Ohio State, because they make you pay.”
Indiana women’s basketball returns to action on Feb. 8 with a matchup against Michigan State.
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