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Ionescu’s Court: Can the Hoosiers take down the Ducks?

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Final home game of the season!

NCAA Womens Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament Stanford vs Oregon Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight at 6 PM PT on ESPN2, the 10-seed Indiana Hoosiers will play against the Fighting Ducks of Oregon!

SEASON THUS FAR

RECORD: 21-12, 8-10

BEST WINS: @ UCLA, Missouri State, Michigan State, Michigan, Iowa, Texas

WORST LOSSES: Grambling State, @ Ohio State,@ Northwestern

COMMON OPPONENT: UCLA, Michigan State

LAST 5 GAMES:

  • L (2/26) @ Northwestern, 49-69
  • W (3/3) Purdue, 73-51
  • W (3/7) Big Ten Tournament, #7 seed Minnesota, 66-58
  • L (3/8) Big Ten Tournament, #2 seed Iowa, 61-70
  • W (3/22) NCAA Tournament, #7 seed Texas, 69-65
NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Indiana vs Maryland Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

SUMMARY: The Indiana Hoosiers won their first ten games of the season. It all started with a too-close-for-comfort victory over Milwaukee, 68 to 66, which kick-started a six-game stretch in which the Hoosiers were dominant, defeating each by at least 14 points.

The UCLA Bruins are one of the few teams that have played both the Ducks and Hoosiers, Oregon split the regular series matchups but broke the tie in their PAC-12 Tournament victory while Indiana beat the Bruins in Los Angeles thanks to a corner three by Jaelynn Penn with less than 30 seconds left.

Victories over Butler and Missouri State kept Indiana’s undefeated streak going, and the win over Missouri State has increased in quality since the Lady Bears’ upset of DePaul in the NCAA Tournament. Things took a step back for the Hoosiers with a loss to Grambling State in the Puerto Rico Classic, but the team was able to bounce back and enter conference play with an 11-1 record.

The Hoosiers won in overtime against Illinois on the road then defeated Penn State and Michigan State at home to remain undefeated in conference, but Indiana’s success in the Big Ten was short lived. It’s noteworthy to mention that Michigan State is the other shared acquaintance between the Ducks and Hoosiers: Indiana split the series (W: 68-64, L: 61-77) while Oregon suffered their first loss of the season in East Lansing, 82-88.

Indiana won just three of their next 12 conference games. Their wins during this stretch were mainly against unimpressive foes, but a 70-60 victory over Michigan was a surprising high note in an otherwise miserable run of play.

A victory over then-No. 10 Iowa by a score of 75-73 gave the Hoosiers some late season momentum, which was immediately thwarted in a 20-point loss to Northwestern. Indiana was able to save some face by defeating Purdue, 73-51, in the final game of the regular season.

In the Big Ten tournament, #10 seed Indiana defeated #7 seed Minnesota before being eliminated by #2 seed Iowa. Big Ten play appears to have hardened the Hoosiers as they were able to upset the higher seeded Longhorns. Things looked dire when Indiana was only able to score six in the third quarter against Texas, but a strong second half and a 24-point game from Jaelynn Penn gave the Hoosiers the win and the opportunity to challenge the Ducks for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen.


STAT COMPARISON

  • HOOSIERS score 69.1 PPG
  • DUCKS allow 62.2
  • HOOSIERS shoot .428% from the floor
  • DUCKS allow .395%
  • HOOSIERS shoot .353% from three
  • DUCKS allow .308%
  • HOOSIERS average 37.1 rebounds
  • DUCKS allow 30.1
  • HOOSIERS allow 64.7 PPG
  • DUCKS score 85.8
  • HOOSIERS allow .399% from the floor
  • DUCKS shoot .506%
  • HOOSIERS allow .287% from three
  • DUCKS shoot .418%
  • HOOSIERS allow 35.5 rebounds
  • DUCKS average 37.8
  • HOOSIERS average 12.1 assists/ 15.2 turnovers

INDIANA STARTERS

#14 Ali Patberg

5’11, Guard, rJunior

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Iowa vs Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

(30 GP - 35.5 MPG - .438 FG% - .406 3PT% - .799 FT% - 15.8 PPG - 5.0 REB)

Patberg is the team’s leading scorer and is coming off a six-game stretch in which she’s scored double digits in every game. In the Big Ten Tournament, she scored 20 points against Minnesota and 25 points in the loss to Iowa. Patberg is a threat from anywhere on the court and will perform a crucial role for the Hoosiers.


#13 Jaelynn Penn

5’10, Guard, Sophomore

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Iowa vs Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

(33 GP - 30.2 MPG - .405 FG% - .335 3PT% - .753 FT% - 13.9 PPG - 3.6 REB)

The sophomore guard came alive against Texas in the First Round, scoring 24 points and hitting four of her seven three-point attempts. Penn also had a game winning triple against UCLA in Los Angeles. We’ll see if the ferocious Oregon crowd can throw her off her game.


#50 Brenna Wise

6’0, Forward, rJunior

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Iowa vs Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

(33 GP - 33.1 MPG - .442 FG% - .418 3PT% - .915 FT% - 12.2 PPG - 6.8 REB)

After sitting out last year, the transfer from Pittsburgh has become an important part of this Hoosier squad. She has made an impression from downtown as well as on the boards.


#1 Bendu Yeaney

5’10, Guard, Sophomore

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Indiana vs Maryland Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

(33 GP - 32.6 MPG - .388 FG% - .208 3PT% - .670 FT% - 9.7 PPG - 4.2 REB)

Yeaney is struggling to recreate her freshman numbers, especially from three-point land where they’ve fallen from .394% to .208%. Still, she’s got two full seasons as a starter under her belt and is ready to take on another huge challenge.


#11 Kym Royster

6’2, Forward, Senior

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Indiana vs Michigan State Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

(33 GP - 20.6 MPG - .575 FG% - .000 3PT% - .603 FT% - 6.2 PPG - 5.8 REB)

Kym Royster has the unfortunate task of guarding Ruthy Hebard. At 6-foot-2, she’s the Hoosiers’ best shot at limiting Oregon’s damage from the paint. If Royster is able to single-handedly limit Hebard to reasonable numbers (a tall if not impossible order), then Indiana could have a shot at the upset.


PANIC LEVEL

8 out of 17 Triple-Doubles

The Hoosiers have a handful of impressive wins over tournament teams (UCLA, Missouri State, Michigan State, Michigan, Iowa, Texas) and have sparred all season against the mighty Big Ten. However, Indiana has plenty of losses to mediocre competition as well, and won’t be able to keep up with Oregon if the shots fall down at their regular rate.

The Ducks on the other hand have done a much better job of maintaining a high level of play throughout the season, and besides, they don’t call it the Conference of Champions for nothing. The Ducks are well rested and should have no problem entertaining the crowd at Matt Knight Arena one last time during the 2018-19 season.

SCORE PREDICTION

DUCKS 85 - HOOSIERS 60