MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — The end of the first quarter was the stuff of coaching nightmares for Teri Moren.
First, her Hoosiers committed a shot-clock violation with three seconds, then they let Minnesota’s Alexia Smith get loose for a 3-pointer and the lead at the buzzer.
It would turn out to be the Gophers’ last gasp, as No. 19 Indiana opened the second quarter on a 14-2 run en route to a 75-54 Big Ten women’s basketball victory on Wednesday.
What made the difference?
“Just the message,” Moren said. “We have to quit letting people hang around.”
Indiana (4-2, 2-0 B1G) scored the first seven points of the second quarter, and after two Jasmine Powell free throws, scored the next seven for a double-digit lead at 29-18. Minnesota never got closer than nine again.
“Yeah, we were definitely upset that we let that happen (at the end of the first quarter),” IU senior Jaelynn Penn said. “It definitely added some fuel to come back out and play good defense.”
Indeed, the Gophers (1-4, 0-3) went the first 5:48 of the second without a field goal.
Meanwhile, the Hoosiers made things easy on themselves, scoring on the fastbreak and getting the ball into the lane.
“We were desperately trying to get some runouts,” Moren said. “They were going back in their zone, showed us a little bit of a 3-2, a matchup and then man, switching throughout the afternoon. When teams do that, it’s really hard to find some rhythm and pace, so we wanted to rely on early runouts, which required us to get stops, get reobunds, push the ball in transition. We encouraged our kids to get more of those.
“We settled in from there and were able to navigate some of their zone looks. Jaelynn hitting shots from outside was big as well.”
Penn started 1-of-5 from the field but finished 7-of-13, including four made 3s, to match Mackenzie Holmes for game-high scoring honors with 19 points.
Grace Berger added 13 points, seven during that second quarter, and Aleksa Gulbe pitched in 11 points and eight rebounds.
IU led 36-25 at halftime, then continued to pull away in the third quarter.
A 5-0 run got the Gophers with 42-32, but the Hoosiers responded with a Penn 3 to key an 8-0 run.
Minnesota scored on its final possession of the third quarter to get within 15, but Indiana did not commit a turnover in the fourth quarter and used a 10-1 run to start the final frame to douse all hopes of a comeback.
Powell, who came in averaging 18 points per game, finished with just 12 on 4-of-14 shooting with Penn drawing the primary duties.
“It was a really tough defensive assignment,” Penn said. “We threw a couple bodies at her (early), me and Keyanna Warthen. I think we did a pretty good job just trying to make her work to get the ball, try to wear her legs out a little bit because she’s super quick. I think we talked well on the screens, trying to keep our defensive assignments on those.”
Offensively, IU shot 45.9 percent from the field, collecting 22 assists on 28 made baskets, something Moren enjoyed much more than the end of the first quarter.
“You’re a veteran team, an experienced team, what you want them to do is execute, whether you’re at home or on the road,” the seven-year IU coach said. “We’re a much better basketball team when we share the ball. We have five guys out there that touch it, quick ball movement, find the good shot — not just the good shot but pass up a good shot for a great shot, so we’re much better offensively in rhythm (and) the pace is better when we do that.”
*Photo courtesy of Minnesota Athletics