Indiana crash out of Big Ten Tournament in quarterfinal loss to Michigan

TARGET CENTER (IUTSV Sports) – For the second year in a row Indiana had a double-digit halftime lead in Minneapolis and in a blink of an eye it evaporated alongside their Big Ten Tournament hopes. The three-seeded Hoosiers fell 69-56 against six-seeded Michigan. 

“It was a tale of two halves,” Teri Moren said after the game. 

The first half featured a ten-minute defensive stalemate followed by an Indiana surge. It took seven minutes for the two sides to combine for ten points and nine and a half before a single team reached that mark. The Hoosiers then outscored the Wolverines by 11 in the second quarter as three-pointers started to fall. Indiana made five of them by halftime, while Michigan had only attempted five without a single make. At halftime, the lead was 13 and reached 17 within a minute after the break.

“I thought we rebounded the ball in the first half. I thought we were really doing some good things,” said Moren. 

Third quarter struggles had been emphasized for Moren and the Hoosiers over the past couple of months, but once again it came back to bite them. Indiana committed seven turnovers in the third quarter and scored just eight points, their lowest in a quarter this year. 

“Turnovers lead to fast break layups and it’s hard to play defense when there are live-ball turnovers,” said Sydney Parrish. 

“I felt like we were all guilty of trying to do a little too much as individuals,” said Moren. “There were a couple moments where they came down and I kinda looked over like I’m not sure why, what that was, and why we felt like we had to do it.”

Leading the charge for Michigan was Laila Phelia. Indiana had no answer for Phelia, who had 20 points in the second half and finished with a career-high 30. 

“They started attacking the basket really aggressively. We really had trouble keeping Phelia in front of us,” said Parrish. 

Paired with Phelia was Lauren Hansen who added an outside threat, hitting all four of her shots frem beyond the arc in the second half. Several of her makes came while being contested. The sharpshooter finished with 16 points. 

Mackenzie Holmes and Lilly Meister, who both left the final regular season game with lower leg injuries, started on the bench, though described as available. Meister gave 22 minutes without any sign of issue, but Holmes was notably absent until the alarm bells rang in the fourth quarter with Michigan pulling ahead. Holmes missed her only two shots attempted and only played five minutes. 

“She was available, we knew she was going to be available. We didn’t want to have to play her. We wanted to be able to, you know, use her tomorrow more. But she looked at me and said ‘I’m ready to go in to see if I can help,’” said Moren. 

That tomorrow will not come for the Hoosiers, who will instead get two days added to their two weeks off ahead of the NCAA Tournament. 

“I’m most disappointed because I know what this group is capable of,” said Parrish. “I know we still have enough pieces to be a championship team.”

Indiana will have a chance to prove that in the NCAA Tournament, however, their hopes of hosting are now in jeopardy. In the February 29 edition of the Top-16 Committee’s ranking Indiana placed at No. 14, receiving a hosting spot. Now, it appears that may be lost, though only time will tell where the Hoosiers will play in two week’s time.