COLUMBUS, Ohio — It felt like Indiana didn't have an answer to Ohio State.
The Hoosiers went down nine early in the fourth quarter, and Ohio State had switched to its 2-3 zone, which stifled the Hoosiers earlier this season.
But unlike that meeting in Assembly Hall in late January, Indiana found an answer to the Buckeyes.
The Hoosiers cut the lead to two with 4:53 remaining, and Ali Patberg was heading to the free-throw line after the media timeout. When play resumed, Patberg knocked down both free throws. That was followed by a midrange jump shot in the middle of the zone by Aleksa Gulbe and then Nicole Cardaño-Hillary drained a three in the corner to give Indiana a five-point lead with 3:03 remaining.
"Nicky couldn't have had a more timely three to give us a bit of a cushion," head coach Teri Moren said.
Indiana rode that momentum to the finish line and defeated Ohio State 87-75 in Columbus.
The victory gave Indiana its 14th conference win this season, which is the second-most in program history.
"I just loved our composure," Moren said. "We didn't blink. We knew that the run was coming, and I'm really just really proud of our entire group."
The Hoosiers started out the game really well, stifling the Buckeyes' offense, forcing eight turnovers in the first quarter and taking an 18-12 lead into the second quarter.
Indiana had a really nice second quarter as well. Grace Berger got her jumper going and led all scorers with 12 points at halftime. But Indiana had a rough sequence of events right before the break.
Ohio State hit a three to cut the lead to six, and then Indiana turned the ball over at half court and Ohio State banked in a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut to lead the three.
"I don't know if I've ever been involved in a game that had a six-point play right before the half," Moren said. "Give our kids credit for being gritty and grinding it out."
Indiana came out in the third quarter and responded well, pushing its lead back out to seven. But that's when the Buckeyes started to mount their comeback, which started by switching to their 2-3 zone.
The Buckeyes went on a 9-0 run to take their first lead since the first quarter, and eventually took a 56-51 lead going into the fourth.
That's when the Hoosiers nearly got down double digits, but they were able to rally together, make the comeback and get their first victory in Columbus since 2002.
"Winning on the road in the Big Ten is so hard," Moren said. "This league is so good, whether you're at home or you're on the road. You have to have a different persona, a different toughness when you're on the road, and I think our kids have that."
All five of Indiana's starters scored in double figures with Berger leading the way with 20 points. Patberg scored 19, Cardaño-Hillary scored 16, Mackenzie Holmes had 17 and Gulbe contributed 10 while also playing all 40 minutes.
With the win, Indiana improves to 16-4 overall and 14-2 in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers' next game will be Wednesday, March 3, against Iowa at home.
"We have some goals and expectations for how we want to end our regular season with playing our best basketball," Moren said.
- PATTERSON OPTS OUT OF SEASON: Indiana's Danielle Patterson has opted out for the remainder of the year. CLICK HERE
- BERGER ADDED TO WATCH LIST: Grace Berger joins Ali Patberg on the Wade Trophy Watch List, getting added as a midseason addition. CLICK HERE
- PENN OPTS OUT OF SEASON: Indiana senior guard Jaelynn Penn has opted out for the remainder of the year. CLICK HERE
- CARDANO-HILLARY PROVIDING SPARK: Transfer Nicole Cardaño-Hillary has been a huge lift for IUWBB off the bench this season. CLICK HERE