BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — “We made history,” graduate student guard Ali Patberg said.
That they did. The Hoosiers beat the No. 6-ranked Maryland Terrapins 70-63 in overtime, Indiana’s first win over Maryland in program history.
This is the Hoosiers’ fifth game against a ranked opponent this season and their third game against a top-10 ranked team.
“Right now, it doesn’t seem real,” Patberg said. “We knew coming in we could do it. We just needed to execute, and we did.”
Although the Terrapins are fairly new to the Big Ten conference having joined in 2014, they’ve made noise and taken up space defeating Indiana the past 11 meetings and earning the league’s championship six times.
But on Sunday, the Hoosiers were seven points better with Patberg leading the charge posting 18 points followed by senior forward Aleksa Gulbe with 17 and junior forward Mackenzie Holmes with 15.
“We controlled the pace,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said. “We wanted the game to be in the 60’s. I thought our kids executed the game plan almost near perfect.”
Moren said the Hoosiers are coming off a tough week. First, their road game against Rutgers was canceled due to positive COVID-19 cases on the Scarlet Knights’ side.
Then, a few Hoosiers sat out due to undisclosed sicknesses and also concussion protocols for one athlete.
The shorthanded Hoosiers hang their hat on their stellar defense that won them the game along with big plays from multiple players.
“You talk about Nikki (Cardaño-Hillary) getting an early steal there to tie the game up,” Moren said. “Kiandra Browne had three charges. Leks hits a big three. Ali hits a big three. Berger hits that kind of runner right there in overtime.”
Holmes got the Hoosier game going scoring Indiana’s first bucket. Maryland’s Angel Reese responded by scoring the first seven points for Maryland, but excellent defense for both Big Ten teams resulted in more than two minutes without buckets for anyone.
Holmes watered the drought with a free throw followed by Patberg who cashed in on a three-pointer with under five minutes to go in the first quarter.
The Terrapins were holding onto a slim lead, but a Berger jumper brought the gap within three.
In the second quarter, graduate student Nicole Cardaño-Hillary finished Berger’s job making a steal that resulted in an and-1 for the Hoosiers bringing them to a 20-19 lead.
Patberg capitalized on three free throws and posed excellent defense with her team causing three Maryland turnovers, one ending in a driving layup from Patberg.
“This group is led by Ali Patberg who’s tough as nails,” Moren said. “That’s just who they are. They’re tough women that believe that in order for us to have a chance at winning games, we got to guard.”
This led the Terrapins to call a timeout before the buzzer. Hoosiers led 33-29 at the half, their eight free throws and 14 rebounds making all the difference.
Reese continued to shine in the second half giving her team the lead off a free throw. Gulbe reacted with a three-pointer that erupted fans in the Hall.
It was a game of tag on the scoreboard as each team took turns taking the lead, alternating who was chasing who.
Diamond Miller swished a three-pointer to put the Terrapins back on top, but the tag came to a halt as the Hoosiers ended the third quarter in a tied game.
Assembly Hall was once again on its feet as Patberg scored another three-pointer followed by a layup from Holmes with eight and a half minutes to go forcing the Terrapins to call timeout.
The Hoosiers went three-for-three on field goals with three minutes to go, but Miller stole the ball and passed to the trusty Reese who lowered Maryland’s deficit.
“She’s (Reese) a great player, and we prepared for her,” Gulbe said. “She’s tall, athletic, fast, lengthy. Team defense is what got us to stop her.”
With one minute on the clock, Maryland’s Ashley Owusu hit two layups to tie it up and force overtime.
Overtime was a series of fouls and turnovers, but two free throws from Berger and two from Gulbe helped make the difference pulling the Hoosiers ahead for the win.
Indiana’s defense didn’t allow Maryland a field goal in overtime, limiting them to only two points in the five minute period.
“I want to give a huge shoutout, appreciation and thank-you for the fans that I thought showed up in a big way in Simon Skjodt to support our group,” Moren said.
Up next, the Hoosiers hit the road to Madison, Wis. to take on the Wisconsin Badgers. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network.
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