When Nicole Cardano-Hillary transferred to Indiana, these are the sorts of performances Teri Moren had in thoughts.
A former Atlantic-10 participant of the yr and the main scorer in George Mason program historical past, Cardano-Hillary got here to IU to offer one other scoring guard off the bench.
However with Jaelynn Penn’s resolution to opt-out, Cardano-Hillary now finds herself as a starter in her first season at Indiana.
In Saturday’s 87-75 win at No. 15 Ohio State, she proved she was as much as the duty.
Cardano-Hillary scored 16 factors and shot 3-of-8 from deep, together with a giant 3 from the nook to jumpstart Indiana’s last push of momentum to shut out the sport.
It’s no shock that she’s discovered her manner within the scoring column, however the 5-foot-6-inch guard is offering far more. She added 11 rebounds and always precipitated points for Ohio State’s guards — one thing that Moren praised following the staff’s win at Wisconsin earlier this week.
Within the first quarter, Cardano-Hillary met Ohio State’s Jacy Sheldon at midcourt and instantly attacked the ball. Sheldon fumbled with it however nonetheless recovered, however Cardano-Hillary’s pursuit wasn’t completed.
She chased down Sheldon once more, received a bit of the ball after which dove to the ground to seize the steal. Whereas nonetheless on the bottom, Cardano-Hillary seemed up and noticed Grace Waggoner open, making a move that had Indiana scoring a straightforward layup on the opposite finish.
“She’s having success, and due to it, our staff is having success within the stress she’s offering on the ball proper now,” Moren mentioned. “She’s simply been so good at enjoying different staff’s level guards and making them uncomfortable.”
The efficiency got here on Cardano-Hillary’s twenty second birthday, and it is one which her teammates and coaches knew would come as soon as she settled and received extra snug in her new function at a brand new college.
“(Cardano-Hillary) performs actually onerous,” senior guard Ali Patberg mentioned. “She’s tremendous aggressive… That simply reveals you her coronary heart, her toughness and her will to win.”
IU (15-4, 14-2) was the higher staff for a lot of the primary half thanks largely to its defensive effort. Indiana held Ohio State to only 12 factors within the first quarter, however OSU discovered methods to remain in it.
Simply earlier than halftime, the Buckeyes hit a 3 to chop the deficit to 6. However an premature turnover by IU within the last seconds gave Ohio State one final heave from half courtroom which went in.
In a matter of seconds, Ohio State had made it a one-possession sport going into the break and that momentum carried.
Indiana lacked momentum for a lot of the second half — together with a four-minute scoring drought to finish the third quarter. Ohio State had a lead as giant as 9 within the fourth, and with Indiana struggling to hit from exterior, the OSU zone precipitated points prefer it had within the first matchup between the 2.
However as an alternative of counting on hitting pictures from exterior, Indiana turned again to what it does greatest.
The Hoosiers centered on creating stops and permitting the transition offense to open up the scoring. When IU couldn’t push, it nonetheless discovered methods to get the ball inside to its bigs.
“I cherished our composure,” Moren mentioned. “We didn’t blink. We knew that the run was coming, and I’m simply actually pleased with our complete group.”
Inside scoring allowed Indiana again into the sport, and as soon as the momentum and the rating have been again in Indiana’s favor, that’s when Cardano-Hillary hit the nook 3 to offer the ultimate punch.
“Couldn’t have had a extra well timed 3 to present us slightly bit extra respiratory room,” Moren mentioned.
This was Indiana’s seventh consecutive win with the final loss being at dwelling to Ohio State a month in the past. The win additionally snapped a 15-game dropping streak in opposition to the Buckeyes and marks the second highway win in opposition to a ranked opponent this yr.
Moren acknowledged the droughts Indiana has ended this season — together with a highway win at Iowa for the primary time since 1994. The 14th convention win is tied for the second-most in program historical past behind the 15 of the 1983 Huge Ten champions.
“You must have a unique mindset, completely different persona, completely different toughness once you go on the highway,” Moren mentioned. “That’s what our children have continued to play with.”
Maryland, with one loss, continues to remain forward of Indiana within the Huge Ten race. IU’s last two video games this season are at dwelling in opposition to Iowa and Purdue, and Maryland is scheduled to play only one extra sport at Northwestern on Sunday.