WEST LAFAYETTE — In one of its most impressive wins in Teri Moren’s tenure, IU somehow, someway found a route to climb back and avoid an upset loss to an unranked Purdue team.
IU was shorthanded. It showed.
But the fifth-ranked Hoosiers found a way to beat Purdue 73-68 Sunday at Mackey Arena.
Here are three reasons why it happened:
Late comeback led by Berger
IU looked absolutely dead in the water. Dead. Gone. Left behind. It lacked its best player (Mackenzie Holmes, out injured) and its best shooter (Nicole Cardano-Hillary, health protocols). It had no momentum and Purdue had stretched out a lead.
But somehow IU came all the way back. With a minute to go. IU trailed by six. Grace Berger brought IU back.
The biggest shot came with under 10 seconds to go, driving into the lane and spinning to toss up a floater through for the lead. Berger came up with clutch play after clutch play. She did commit the foul that allowed the game to go to overtime. But IU isn’t playing any extra basketball without her .
Shorthanded offense is stagnant, but enough
IU scrapped to the finish to make quite the fun fourth quarter before pulling away in overtime. But it struggled mightily for most of the game. At some point there’s only so much IU can do. IU lacked its All-American post player (Holmes) and jitterbug sparkplug (Cardano-Hillary) Sunday at Mackey Arena. With such a large volume of IU’s offense not even able to be on the floor, it’s fair to assume the offense would struggle.
And it did.
IU has no depth. Moren only played seven players, and she only had nine dressed for the game to begin with. Ali Patberg and Berger played every minute.
Somehow, IU pieced enough together to win. And that’s a testament to the starters IU had remaining.
Overtime? Defense still doesn’t allow 70 points
How do you win a game without so many key pieces.
IU can lean back on its defense like it has so many times. And even with an extra five minutes, IU still didn’t allow 70 points.
The Hoosiers still had many key pieces for its defense even off the bench. That was sorely needed. That comeback never happens if not for IU’s getting stops. Or Grace Waggoner forcing a turnover that led to Berger’s go-ahead basket.
Defense is Moren’s calling card. It always has been. Today it had to be the calling card. And when IU needed to rely on its defense, it came through.
NO. 5 INDIANA 73, PURDUE 68, OT
INDIANA (14-2) — Browne 2-4 4-5 8, Gulbe 8-11 2-2 21, Berger 9-17 6-8 24, Moore-McNeil 4-13 1-2 10, Patberg 4-16 0-0 10, Waggoner 0-2 0-1 0, Peterson 0-0 0-0 0, Team 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 27-63 13-18 73
PURDUE (11-6) — Woltman 2-3 0-0 4, Ellis 8-17 2-4 19, Hardin 2-6 0-0 5, Layden 5-15 4-4 15, Terry 0-5 0-0 0, Moore 6-18 6-6 18, Learn 3-4 1-2 7, Team 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 26-68 13-16 68
Indiana 12 15 14 19 13 — 73
Purdue 15 17 9 19 8 — 68
3-Point Goals—Indiana 6-16 (Gulbe 3-4, Moore-McNeil 1-7, Patberg 2-4, Waggoner 0-1), Purdue 3-18 (Ellis 1-2, Hardin 1-4, Layden 1-5, Terry 0-2, Moore 0-4, Learn 0-1). Assists: Indiana 13 (Berger 6), Purdue 7 (Ellis 4). Fouled Out: Purdue Learn. Rebounds: Indiana 42 (Team 7-10), Purdue 40 (Ellis 4-8). Total Fouls: Indiana 14, Purdue 18. Technical Fouls: None. A: 8,505.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Indiana women's basketball: Hoosiers rally to beat Purdue in overtime