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Culture Shock

Indiana Defensive Effort Falls Short in Big Ten Tournament Championship Loss to Iowa

Indianapolis, IN–  In the first Big Ten Championship appearance since 2002 for Indiana, the Hoosiers gave it everything they had but fell short against the Iowa Hawkeyes. 

 

The Hoosiers were defeated by Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament Championship 74-67. The Hawkeyes won their fourth Big Ten Tournament Championship and their first since 2019. Iowa was the runner-up to Maryland last year.

 

The Hoosiers had a strong push coming out of halftime, but in the end, Monika Czinano and the Hawkeyes were tough to stop. Along with trying to stop Czinano, the Hoosiers had to worry about guard Grace Berger picking up her fifth foul for the entire 4th quarter. She played almost the entire 4th quarter before fouling out down 70-66 with 50 seconds remaining.

 

“As I reminded our kids, we are still one of the best women's basketball teams in the country, and that's what I'm most proud of,” head coach Teri Moren said.

 

Indiana had great ball pressure early against Iowa and forced turnovers leading to transition baskets. It was another intense battle from the tip between Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark and Hoosiers guard Nicole Cardao-Hillary. Cardaño-Hillary was able to guard Clark well in the first quarter holding her to 1-4 from the field. She also put up 8 points, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. The Hoosiers had struggled defensively in the first two matchups, giving up 96 and 88 points, but Indiana was able to put up a better fight this time around.

 

“We guarded very hard and they scored less points,” Cardaño-Hillary said. “I think that's kind of our thing. We're a very good defensive team and we just held them to those points.”

 

Although the Hoosiers played tough defense on Caitlin Clark, they were unable to contain Iowa center Monika Czinano. Czinano had 10 points in the first quarter and 30 for the game. In the three meetings against Indiana this year, she has put up 83 points.

 

“She has great footwork. She gets you deep. She blows you up in terms of just trying to get a deep seal and trying to her physicality,” Moren said. “She's really improved and she's a load on the inside.”

 

Even with the defense struggling, the Hoosiers found good scoring opportunities. However, the Hoosiers were unable to convert from behind the arc shooting 4-19 from 3. Even with the poor shooting, Indiana was able to go on a 5-0 run to end the half cutting the deficit to two points. The run was capped off by a beautiful step-through move and score by Grace Berger at the buzzer.

 

“We were confident that we would get good looks and that we would get the looks that we wanted if we ran our motion because we've gotten pretty good looks on the motion the past four days,” Berger said. “We were confident offensively coming into the game.”

Indiana’s next opponent will be determined on Selection Sunday, March 13th. The Hoosiers are projected as a 3 or 4 seed in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. That would allow IU to host the first two rounds of the tournament at Assembly Hall for the first time in program history. WIUX 99.1 FM is planning to broadcast the tournament games from Bloomington, IN.

 

PHOTO COURTESY OF IU ATHLETICS

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