Iowa crowned Big Ten Champs as Indiana falls 74-67

INDIANAPOLIS, UNITED STATES – 2022/03/06: Iowa celebrates beating Indiana University during the NCAA basketball Women’s Big Ten Tournament game on March 06, 2022 in Indianapolis, Ind. Iowa beat Indiana University 74-67. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
INDIANAPOLIS, UNITED STATES – 2022/03/06: Indiana University players react during the last seconds of a loss against Iowa during the NCAA basketball Women’s Big Ten Tournament game on March 06, 2022 in Indianapolis, Ind. Iowa beat Indiana University 74-67. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

Indianapolis, Indiana – March 6, 2022

by Skip Daley – South Central Indiana News Network

It was the B1G Tournament Championship, a level which the Indiana Women’s Basketball program had not seen for 20 years. It would also represent the 3rd time IU would face Iowa this year, with the Hoosiers losing both previous matchups. Hoosier Nation filled the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Downtown Indianapolis to cheer on their team, as they worked to accomplish a preseason goal of winning this tournament.

Indiana took the tip and then, with their second possession, scored the first points of the game with a back cut to the basket by Guard Nicole Cardano-Hillary on a post assist by Guard Ali Patberg.

Indiana would move the ball well throughout the 1st quarter and were patient for the best looks. Their hands were sharp, cutting down Iowa’s inside dishes and stripping the ball on numerous occasions. The Hoosiers came with a plan for addressing Iowa’s play and were seemingly executing it. After 10 minutes of play, Iowa would capture a 18-16 lead. It was an evenly matched game, with the difference being Indiana’s lower shooting percentage, missing a few key rolls. Instead, Indiana was down by 7 with 2 minutes remaining in the first half. Senior Forward Aleksa Gulbe would sink a 3 with under a minute left, then Senior Guard Grace Berger found a rebound and juked her way into the paint for a buzzer-beating lay-up, cutting Iowa’s lead at half, 35-33.

The second half started with IU tying the score at 35 with a Patberg lay-up from a behind the back, no-look assist from Berger. And on their next possession, Patberg assisted IU Junior Forward Mackenzie Holmes with another behind the back assist. After another defensive stop, Berger would then hit a mid-range jumper, as the Hoosiers had a 7-0 run.

But then Berger picked up her third personal foul and Iowa had a run of their own. It was like a tennis match with the points flowing in a back-and-forth manner.

At the 4-minute mark, Iowa’s All-American Sophomore Guard Caitlin Clark would pick up her third foul as well, charging Cardano-Hillary at mid-court. Both foul-troubled players would remain in the game.

The Hawkeyes played a tight defensive zone in the 3rd quarter, giving the Hoosiers some trouble. They would top Indiana 51-48 with one quarter remaining.

The 4th quarter would be owned by the Hawkeyes. With 6 and a half minutes left in the game, Cardano-Hillary drilled a long three to bring the Hoosiers within 3. A timeout was called, and then Iowa refused to miss from the post. It did not seem to matter who received the ball; they didn’t miss. Indiana had no answer and found themselves down by 5 with 3 and half minutes left on the clock.

The game became even more physical in the waning minutes than it had been throughout. Bodies falling to the ground, players giving it all they had. Grace Berger became disqualified with 50 seconds remaining.

Iowa would have a 6-point lead with 20 seconds left, and it would come down to clock management and hitting quick perimeter shots, for which IU had been in a drought. With 10 seconds on the clock, it was a 5 -point game, Iowa possession. It was essentially over, and Iowa would become the 2022 B1G Tournament Champions, adding to their Regular Season Co-Championship.

The Indiana Hoosiers played hard, and the box score reads about equal with one exception. Indiana simply missed shots. They had good looks, but the net was not on their side this evening. They will take a few days off, then get back to work.

Next week the NCAA will have its Selection Day for the NCAA Tournament. After this run in the B1G Tourney, Indiana is a presumable 3 seed, and should host some games at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Stay tuned Hoosier Nation . . .

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