BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP)Iowa asserted itself with energy early, but Indiana’s second-half determination and scoring balance proved far more formidable as the 10th-ranked Hoosiers rallied from a seven-point deficit in the third quarter for an 89-80 Big Ten home win on Wednesday.
”This is the best time of the year and we feel like we’re playing our best, individually and as a team,” said Grace Berger, who scored eight of her 22 points in a pivotal third quarter, when Indiana outscored Iowa 27-16.
Mackenzie Holmes and Ali Patberg also finished with 22 points for the Hoosiers (17-4, 15-2 Big Ten), who pulled to with a half-game of No. 8 Maryland (19-2, 15-1) for the regular-season conference crown. Indiana has one regular-season game remaining while the Terrapins have two.
”In that third quarter, they were just putting their heads down and driving to the basket,” said Iowa coach Lisa Bluder. ”And we didn’t have an answer for it.”
Nicole Cardano-Hillary added seven of her 13 points in the third as the Hoosiers took a 65-59 edge into the final 10 minutes.
Iowa freshman guard Caitlin Clark, the nation’s second-leading scorer at 26.9 points per game, led all scorers with 32 points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Manika Czinano added 20 points for the Hawkeyes (14-8, 10-8).
Holmes made 11-of-13 shots and had a game-high 11 rebounds for a double-double. Indiana outrebounded Iowa 38-21 and had a 56-38 advantage in points in the paint.
”The number that jumps off the page for me are the second-chance points,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said of the 21-10 advantage, thanks to 13 offensive rebounds.
She conceded Iowa earned a 43-38 halftime lead with greater intensity. Then Moren challenged her players.
”I’m really, really happy for our gang,” she said.
The Hoosiers swept the Hawkeyes for the first time since 1994.
”We just needed to have a more aggressive mindset,” Czinano said. ”They had too many offensive rebounds. We definitely needed to rev it up.”
Iowa: Clark leads the Big Ten in 10 statistical categories, and has received the Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor 12 times, and been named conference Player of the Week a record five times. … Czinano leads the nation in field goal percentage at 69.2.
Indiana: Ranked in top 10 for the first time in program history after moving up one spot this week. … The 15 conference wins are the most in the Moren coaching era and tied for the most in school history with the 1983 team.
Iowa: Host Nebraska Saturday.
Indiana: Host Purdue Saturday.