ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) - Ali Patberg and Brenna Wise scored 15 points each and No. 17 Indiana pulled away from Washington State for a 78-44 victory Saturday at the Paradise Jam tournament.
Mackenzie Holmes added 14 points and Jaelynn Penn had 11 for the Hoosiers (6-1), who overcame a slow start to lead by 17 points at the half, cruising from there in their tournament finale.
“Games like this, we talk about ‘bounceback ability’ all the time with our players, especially coming off that tough night,” in losing to No. 2 Baylor on Friday, Indiana head coach Teri Moren said. “For us to come back and score the way we did … that was really a great indicator of how we’re working to put things together and how many pieces we have.”
Borislava Hristova scored 16 points and Bella Murakatete had 10 for the Cougars (4-3), which gave Indiana fits in the first quarter, leading by as many as six points midway through the period.
After swapping the lead three times, Washington State went on a 9-2 run midway through the period, with Hristova’s jumper with 5:44 left putting the Cougars up 13-7.
“We were just trying to get in rhythm, and figure things out,” Moren said. “Obviously, they were hitting some tough shots. We were just trying to get settled in. Once we started to see the ball go in, it always does something for our defense.”
The Hoosiers closed out the quarter with an 18-5 run. Berger’s jumper with 2:57 remaining put Indiana up 17-16, and Wilson made two free throws with five seconds left for a 24-18 lead at the end of the period.
Washington State cut the margin to three points, 31-28, on Hristova’s jumper with 5:35 left in the second quarter, only to see the Hoosiers score 14 unanswered points. Patburg scored eight points during the run, which gave Indiana a 45-28 lead at the halftime break.
“We were a really tired team,” Cougars head coach Kamie Ethridge said. “I really am happy and proud with how the team came out and performed, it was everything we talked about wanting to be. But it was a perfect storm what we hit here. We did a great job of changing things at halftime … but we just can’t put the ball in the basket right now. We’ve got to figure that out.”
Indiana: The Hoosiers put another solid win under their belts to close out the three-games-in-three-days Paradise Jam.
Washington State: Even with three losses – all against Top 25 teams – the Cougars are still off to their best start since the 2016-2017 season, when they opened 5-2.
With its strong showing – and win over No. 5 South Carolina – in the Paradise Jam, Indiana should move up a couple spots and stay in the Top 25 for a program-record sixth consecutive week.
Indiana has a quick turnaround before playing at No. 19 Miami on Wednesday.
Washington State begins a three-game homestand against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday.
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