Indiana women’s basketball is headed to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history following a 73-70 win Saturday against No. 1 seeded N.C. State in the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
Despite struggling late to hold onto a lead that was as large as 14, Indiana got a crucial stop on the final possession following senior guard Ali Patberg splitting a pair of free throws to make it a three-point game.
Indiana will face No. 3 Arizona, which cruised past No. 2 Texas A&M 74-59, on Monday
The story of the game for the Hoosiers was once again the defense after forcing 17 Wolfpack turnovers in a game that was filled with runs.
The game started with a 7-0 run from N.C. State, but Indiana answered with a 9-0 run of its own and that pace of trading runs would continue throughout the first 20 minutes.
N.C. State saw a lead as large as 11 in the first half, but Indiana continued to battle. After a nervous start, Indiana settled in and returned to what it does best: getting the ball inside.
Indiana shot 1-for-6 from deep in the first quarter. Settling for 3s is something Indiana has done in various slow starts this season, and in the second quarter the Hoosiers took just three attempts from deep.
N.C. State’s Jada Boyd scored nine first-quarter points, but she picked up her second foul a minute into the second quarter. Indiana took advantage with her on the bench, and a Mackenzie Holmes bucket with 17 seconds to go in the first half gave Indiana a 34-33 edge at halftime.
The second half was an Ali Patberg show, as the Indiana offense usually goes as she goes. With Indiana’s ability to force turnovers, the transition offense was working and Patberg led the way. She had 10 points in the second half — seven of which came in the third.
Holmes fouled out with about 3:30 to go in the game, which opened up a later surge for N.C. State. Indiana got a pair of clutch free throws from Nicole Cardano-Hillary, and ultimately Indiana got the stop it needed.
Patberg, the 2015 IndyStar Miss Basketball, led with 17 points and all five Hoosiers starters finished in double figures. Grace Berger had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Aleksa Gulbe had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“This is a dream to play for Indiana," Patberg said. "This means the world to me.”
Indiana advances to face No. 3 seed Arizona on Monday.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Sweet 16: Indiana upsets No. 1 NC State in women's NCAA Tournament