BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Nicole Cardaño-Hillary’s 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five steals led No. 10 Indiana to a 70-40 victory over Penn State in its opening Big Ten game on Monday night.
It was the fewest points Indiana has given up in a Big Ten game since allowing 39 to Wisconsin on March 4, 2004.
Mackenzie Holmes scored 16 points and Ali Patberg added 15 for the Hoosiers (6-2), who shot over 50% from the field and were 6 for 14 from 3-point range, while the Lady Lions shot 33.9% from the field and made just two of 16 3-point attempts.
“We hang our hats on the defensive end,” Holmes said. “When shots aren’t falling, we have to really hone in on our defense. When you have someone like Nikki heating up the ball and the pressure, I think that was working well for us tonight.”
Cardaño-Hillary, who missed all 10 of her shots against No. 2 N.C. State on Dec. 2, made three 3s on Monday.
“The mindset is always the same, it’s just a difference of the shots falling,” Cardaño-Hillary said. “I focus a lot on my defense and then hopefully those shots end up falling.”
Makenna Marisa led Penn State (4-5) with 21 points.
Indiana outscored Penn State 23-9 in the third quarter, including a 21-0 run lasting 7:40, to put the game out of reach.
After a slow first quarter that saw Indiana turn the ball over seven times, the Hoosiers settled in for the remainder of the game and finished with 16 turnovers.
Penn State had 22 turnovers, including nine forced on steals by Indiana. Three came from Cardaño-Hillary in the first half.
“What Nikki provides for us is what she does defensively,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said. “She creates havoc for other point guards. She disrupts them. She doesn’t make anything easy when she’s on the ball.”
Penn State: The Lady Lions struggled on the glass and were outrebounded by Indiana 37-24. Only five of their boards were on the offensive side.
Indiana: The Hoosiers bounced back from their second loss of the season with a controlling victory over its first conference foe of the year.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Penn State didn’t shoot a free throw Monday. Patberg was the only starter with more than one foul and Indiana had nine total. Indiana shot 75% from the line, making 12 of 16 attempts.
Penn State: Continues Big Ten play against Rutgers at home Thursday before hosting Youngstown State on Sunday.
Indiana: Wraps up a three-game homestand against Fairfield on Thursday.
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