No. 20 Hoosiers Squeak Out Win Over Illinois
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Junior guard Jaelynn Penn hit big free throws down the stretch as No. 20 Indiana held on for a 59-54 win at Illinois on Thursday night.
- The Hoosiers would open up the game on a 6-0 run before Illinois matched it with 5:21 to go. Patberg’s 3-pointer kept it tied at 9-9 with her first 3-pointer of the night. But UI would respond from one of Ali Andrew’s seven points in the first quarter as it took a 12-10 lead at the end of the first.
- Another run for IU including back-to-back buckets from junior guard Jaelynn Penn cut the deficit down to one, trailing 17-16. Responding again, UI pushed its lead up to as many as nine with 4:40 to go.
- Indiana would go on to score the final five points of the half and trail by two, 27-25, at the break. Their scoring run continued through the third quarter as it quickly built its largest lead of the game at seven behind five points from Patberg, a Gulbe bucket and two at the line from senior forward Brenna Wise.
- But once again the Hoosiers’ offense went stagnant, allowing the Fighting Illini to regain the lead with 2:59 remaining in the third. Gulbe and Wise combined to push the lead back to three but a 3-pointer on the opposite end tied the game back up. Junior guard Keyanna Warthen’s bucket under the rim made the difference in the third, giving IU the 45-43 lead.
- Scoreless for the first two minutes of the fourth, Illinois took control of the lead once again with just under six minutes on the clock.
- After Patberg hit a pair at the line to tie the game at 49-all, Indiana would get help from a flagrant 1 foul called against Illinois as Penn stepped up and connected at the line with 3:31 remaining. On the ensuing possession, Patberg found Gulbe open underneath and then again found Berger on the baseline to make it a six-point edge, 55-49.
- Illinois had chances and made it a three-point game with 25 seconds to go but Penn stepped up again at the line in the bonus, knocking down two at the stripe to send IU home with a win.
- With the win, Indiana notches win number 20, the fastest the program has ever reached that mark in program history. It’s the fifth-straight season the Hoosiers have reached 20 or more wins and the 10th time in program history.
- Redshirt junior guard Ali Patberg led with a team-high 17 points, nine assists and five rebounds.
- Sophomore forward Aleksa Gulbe also had double figures with 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting while grabbing eight rebounds and three blocks.
- Junior guard Jaelynn Penn went 6-for-6 at the line and notched 10 points and six rebounds.
- The Hoosiers also won the margin on the glass, 45-29.
- Indiana improves to 43-30 all-time in the series and pushes its win streak over the Illini to 10.
Indiana head coach Teri Moren
“Well we are happy to be leaving Illinois with a win tonight. We found away tonight to get out of her with a win. As I told the kids, I am very happy for them, but there are still so many things that we have to go back and clean up. On a night that we didn’t shoot the ball very well, we have to figure out what is going on there with how poorly we shot it at Nebraska and then again tonight at Illinois. We have to find our rhythm and our confidence back in our shot. Happy for the guys, we made just enough plays once again just like we did the other day at Nebraska. We did a tremendous job on the boards. Part of our issue is just the turnovers which really hurt us in the first quarter. We got out to a fast start but then started giving it to the team in white which was frustrating. Overall, we still have a lot of work to do, but sometimes all the wins aren’t pretty. Tonight, we are leaving here with an ugly win, so we’re happy.”
Indiana returns home on Sunday when it hosts Ohio State to celebrate National Girls and Women In Sports Day and Alumni Day. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. ET.