EVANSTON, Ill. — Indiana head coach Teri Moren told her team to take a deep breath at halftime, herself included.
Despite only trailing No. 21 Northwestern by three on the road, Moren thought Indiana let their emotions get the best of them at times during that first half.
"It's OK to play with emotion, we just couldn't be emotional" Moren said. "There was a difference there in the second half."
So the Hoosiers came out in the second half and looked a little more poised. They fell down by as much as 13 points in the third quarter, but then the script flipped instantly.
The Hoosiers slowly started to chip away at the lead, and before you knew it, a three-pointer by Nicole Cardaño-Hillary tied the game at 56 with 7:49 to go.
Indiana outscored Northwestern 26-7 in the fourth quarter to pick up its first ranked win of the season. The Hoosiers, once down 13, defeated the Wildcats by 13, 74-61.
"We could've been sorry for ourselves that shots weren't falling," sophomore Mackenzie Holmes said. "We were very mature in the second half, knowing that those were shots we were gonna make, and I think that was huge for us down the stretch."
Holmes led the way for Indiana with 22 points and 10 rebounds. She got off to a bit of a slow start and got frustrated with some shots, but once she put it together, she shot a very efficient 8-of-14 from the field.
Indiana also got Jaelynn Penn back Sunday. Penn had not played the last four games after turning an ankle against Maryland on Jan. 4.
Penn contributed 12 points, four rebounds and four assists in her return, including some big three-point shots.
"I felt really good," Penn said. "When that three went down, it was really good. It boosted my confidence and got me back into a rhythm."
The Hoosiers' third double-digit contributor came from Grace Berger, who had 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Berger also had six rebounds and four assists, as well as some big buckets down the stretch.
But overall, it was a team win for Indiana. Moren was more than pleased with the production from her bench in Welsh-Ryan Arena.
"I thought our bench, Keyanna (Warthen) came in and gave us a great couple minutes," Moren said. "DP (Danielle Patterson) came in and gave us a couple of minutes, and KB (Kiandra Browne). It was great to see our bench help us."
This was a game where it felt like the Hoosiers needed to win. They've lost to three ranked teams this season, with two coming in a game where they rallied back in the fourth quarter but couldn't close the deal.
It was important for Indiana to finally finish one of these games.
"It was huge for us," Penn said. "We've come short on some ranked teams this season, so to be able to beat a ranked team and just to be able to win a road game in the Big Ten is a really big win. Northwestern is a great team, and we felt like we owed them. Last year we came down here and they beat us by 20 and that just never left the back of our heads."
"We're an experienced team," Moren said. "And I thought that shined through this afternoon with the way we finished the game with our veterans."
No. 16 Indiana will be back in action next Sunday, Jan. 31, at home against Michigan State.