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Indiana Women's Basketball Falls to Reigning NCAA Champion Stanford in the Bahamas

No. 4-ranked Indiana suffered it first loss of the season on Thursday, falling to Stanford 69-66 in the Bahamas. If there's anything to be thankful for in this defeat, Indiana proved it can hang with the champs even on a day when shots weren't falling for the Hoosiers.

A top 10-matchup on Thanksgiving Day's Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Classic in Nassau, Bahamas was just as competitive as expected. The No. 4 Indiana Hoosiers fell to No. 7-ranked Stanford Cardinal 69-66. The Hoosiers are now 4-1 on the season.

"They gave us all we can handle and more," Stanford coach and former Indiana basketball player Tara VanDerveer said in a postgame press conference..

The Hoosiers shot just 23-for-71 from the field (32.4 percent) and were outrebounded 59-38 by the Cardinal. Graduate student guard Ali Patberg led the Hoosiers with 19 points. She also went a perfect 4-for-4 on free throws.

"We are disappointed because we wanted that bad, but it's only going to fuel us," Patberg said. "Our fight was there."

Stanford's veteran group struggled to score against Indiana's aggressive defense as well, as it went 29-for-70 from the field (41.4 percent) and missed 10 free throws. 

"I guess if there's a silver lining, it's that we can compete with anyone in the country even on a day that we didn't shoot the ball particularly as well as we needed to in order to beat a team like Stanford," Indiana coach Teri Moren said.

Stanford's Cameron Brink, a 6-foot-4 sophomore forward, made the difference, putting up 21 points and grabbing 22 rebounds. Indiana's best rebounder on the day was 6-foot-2 forward Mackenzie Holmes, who had 10, but scored only six points on 3-of-12 shooting.

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"No doubt that the rebounding was the bugaboo today for us," Moren said. "We told our kids that was the No. 1 key on the board, that we were going to have to be relentless. They rebound. They're so much bigger than we are, and we knew that was going to be a big key if we were going to win the game."

The Hoosiers (4-1) fought the whole time to gain a lead, but the shots weren't falling. The Cardinal led by as many as 10 points with a couple minutes left to go in the second quarter. Graduate student Nicole Cardaño-Hillary cashed in on a free throw and two three-point jumpers to close the gap 37-34 before the halftime buzzer.  

Late in the third quarter, Indiana got a three-pointer from Patberg to narrow the lead to 52-50, and got within one at 57-56 with 7:26 to go in the game. But they couldn't get ahead, and came up a bit short in the end.

"This is a national championship team," Moren said. "We could've shot the ball better. Maybe the outcome would have been a bit different, and our kids are disappointed. But we talk about bounce-back ability all the time, so this will be a great test for us to see if we have that."

Cardaño-Hillary had 18 points and Grace Berger added 12. Moren stuck with her five starters for most of the game. Indiana's four bench players saw just 24 total minutes of action, and only Chloe Moore-McNeil scored, hitting one three-pointer.

The Hoosiers have one more game in the sunshine versus Miami on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET. They return home on Dec. 2 to play N.C. State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

  • HOOSIERS BALL WITH STANFORD ON TURKEY DAY: The Indiana women's basketball team is soaking up some sun in the Bahamas over the holiday, but there is also plenty of important basketball, too, starting with a matchup against reigning NCAA champion and No. 7-ranked Stanford on Thanksgiving Day. CLICK HERE.
  • INDIANA BEATS QUINNIPIAC IN THRILLING ROAD GAME: After another slow start, Indiana came alive in the third quarter and kept that momentum going until the final whistle. Grace Berger led the Hoosiers with 17 points in their 67-59 win over Quinnipiac and even cashed in on another buzzer beater half-court shot. CLICK HERE.
  • HOOSIERS START ROAD TRIP AT QUINNIPIAC: No. 4-ranked Indiana is off to a 3-0 start this season, but now they head out of state for the first time, starting with a matchup with Quinnipiac on Saturday in Connecticut. The Hoosiers are looking to limit turnovers after a sloppy win on Tuesday. CLICK HERE.
  • INDIANA TAKES DOWN NORFOLK STATE: The Hoosiers started off with a slow first quarter, but Mackenzie Holmes and Aleksa Gulbe both lit up the floor to bring the Hoosiers to another victory. CLICK HERE.