BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — On an afternoon when Indiana wasn't playing its best defense and its struggling in-state rival was determined to pull off a big upset, the Hoosiers showed exactly what they're made of.
Good teams can turn poor performances into a win, and that's exactly what Indiana did on Saturday in the regular season finale, defeating Purdue 74-59, outscoring the Boilermakers 21-8 in the fourth quarter.
With the win, the Hoosiers have now set a program record with 16 conference wins on the season.
"Well it was an interesting game, and I'm happy that we were on the winning side," Moren said. "It was a grind-it-out kind of game for us."
Purdue gave Indiana trouble in the first half with its interior presence. With Fatou Diagne, the Boilermakers constantly looked to get the ball into the post. She only had four points in the first half but grabbed five rebounds.
It was Kayana Traylor that was able to penetrate into the paint and get buckets as she led Purdue with seven points in the first half.
"It seemed like they came to Bloomington to try to slow the ball game down today," Moren said.
For the Hoosiers, it was junior forward Aleksa Gulbe that got it going in the first half. Her and Mackenzie Holmes linked up a couple times with some nice interior passing that allowed Gulbe to get some easy buckets.
"We call it the Latvia-Maine connection," Holmes said as she is from Maine and Gulbe hails from Latvia. "We have great chemistry together."
Moren thought the zone Purdue was running allowed Gulbe and Holmes to really exploit it and get some easy baskets.
Gulbe also connected a three-pointer to send her into the locker room with a game-high 11 points.
Indiana shot 48% from the field in the first half and led 34-29 at the break.
The Hoosiers started the second half getting the ball inside to Holmes and got her good looks. She had 15 points by the end of the third quarter, but sloppy play from Indiana kept the Boilermakers hanging around.
It was the fourth quarter where Indiana took over the game. Holmes continued her stellar play in the second half and finished with a game-high 26 points on 12-of-15 shooting.
"They were guarding the ball more on the perimeter, so my teammates were able to get me open looks inside and I was able to knock them down," Holmes said.
Gulbe contributed 14, Cardaño-Hillary had 11 and Berger had 10. Patberg was the only starter that didn't score in double figures with eight points, but she got her senior day send-off at the end of the game when Moren was able to substitute her out and she got a standing ovation from the parents in attendance.
"I'm happy for Key and I'm happy for Ali that we can celebrate senior night and know that we won this game," Moren said.
Keyanna Warthen, Indiana's second senior, was also able to get that standing ovation as well. Warthen knocked down a three in the game to get her senior day points.
"I'll cherish them for life," Holmes said. "I couldn't ask for two better people to be our leaders."
With the win, Indiana is now 18-4 overall and 16-2 in the Big Ten, and the Hoosiers are locked into the No. 2 seed for the Big Ten Tournament and will get a double-bye next week.
Indiana will be entering postseason play riding a nine-game winning streak.
"I think we're going to enjoy this one," Moren said. "We need to catch our breath in the sense that you're going into a tournament that the Big Ten is incredible. I know starting on Thursday night there's not going to be a game there that's not going to be competitive. We're going to be playing three games there hopefully. That's our goal."
- SENIORS SHARE SPECIAL BOND: Indiana seniors Ali Patberg and Keyanna Warthen have a special relationship that started three years ago. CLICK HERE
- 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