INDIANAPOLIS – Poor shooting and costly turnovers forced the 2-seeded Hoosiers to bow out of the Big Ten Tournament in the quarterfinal round in a 69-61 loss to Michigan State on Thursday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
With just a one-point lead in the opening quarter, Indiana (18-5) used buckets from sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes and Gulbe to push its lead to five, 11-6. A pull-up by junior guard Grace Berger and another one by Holmes continued to give IU the edge in the frame as it led 16-11 after one.
The Hoosiers hold Michigan State without a field goal for nearly three minutes to start the second quarter as it helped to push its lead up to double digits with 6:17 remaining.
The Spartans made it a six-point game with just under three and a half minutes to play as IU responded with Berger and Holmes connecting at the line for three points. The two teams would exchange 3-pointers in the final minute as Indiana took a 34-26 edge at the break.
But the Hoosiers could never really get anything going in the second half, as it was outscored in total 43-27.
Michigan State jumped on the Hoosiers out of the break, quickly capitalizing on errors which gave them a one-point less than three minutes in to the third. The lead would be exchanged on nine occasions but MSU’s Nia Clouden hit a pair at the line to take a 47-45 to the fourth quarter.
The Spartans would continue to build a lead but senior guard Ali Patberg, who scored nine of the 12 points in the second half, had back-to-back buckets to cut its deficit back to five. A Holmes layup that followed after the media timeout put IU within three, but it would get no closer as it didn’t score in the final 1:43 of play.
Berger led the Hoosiers with 19 points. Berger scored 12 points in the first half to help Indiana to a 34-26 lead at the break.
Holmes scored 17 points on 8-for-12 from the field. Holmes added 10 rebounds for her eighth career double-double.
Patberg scored 12 points and added a team-high six assists.
The Hoosiers held a 40-24 advantage in points in the paint.
The Hoosiers had won nine straight games coming in and had not lost since Jan. 31.
Trailing 59-50 with under eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Indiana used a 6-0 run to cut the gap to three at 59-56.
The Hoosiers will await their NCAA Tournament opponent with the selection show set for Monday, March 15 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.