Penn has 24 and Indiana surprises Texas 69-65
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — While Texas put its focus on slowing Ali Patberg, Indiana’s Jaelynn Penn had her game going from the start.
The sophomore guard had 24 points, including four 3-pointers, and 10th-seeded Indiana surprised No. 7 Texas 69-65 on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
“I feel like my teammates were setting good screens so I took the opportunity to get shots. I was hot early and they kept getting them to me and thankfully I was able to knock them down,” she said.
Bendu Yeaney added 17 points while Brenna Wise and Patberg contributed another 10 apiece for the Hoosiers (21-12), who were making their first appearance in the tournament since the 2015-16 season.
Texas (23-10) was led by Danni Williams with 15 points. Joyner Holmes added 12 points and 12 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season.
Indiana advances to face second-seeded and host Oregon on Sunday.
The Longhorns were hurt when Indiana outscored them 23-13 in the third quarter, coach Karen Aston said.
“We didn’t do a very good job of starting the second half. I thought the difference was how they came out in the third quarter really looking to drive the ball, which we knew they were going to, and we just didn’t handle that very well,” she said.
Indiana trailed 37-29 at the half but outscored Texas 23-12 in the third quarter and went into the final period leading 52-49. But Holmes’ layup and three straight free throws from Williams put the Longhorns in front 55-54.
Yeaney’s layup gave Indiana back a 60-59 lead with just over five minutes left. The teams wrestled for the lead, but Williams’ layup put Texas in front 63-62. Yeaney answered with a pair of free throws to give Indiana back the lead and Penn hit a 3-pointer to make it 67-63 with 1:58 left.
Jatarie White scored on a rebound for Texas to close the gap to two points, and after turnovers for both teams, Patberg made free throws for Indiana with 12 seconds left to all but seal the win.
Indiana was making its sixth overall tournament appearance. Previously 2-5 in tournament games, the Hoosiers earned an at-large bid after falling to Iowa 70-61 in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.
The winner of last year’s WNIT tournament, Indiana was helped in its bid for an NCAA berth this season by a victory over No. 10 Iowa last month.
Texas, ranked No. 23 in the final AP Top 25 this season, was making its sixth straight tournament appearance. The Longhorns fell to Iowa State 75-69 in the Big 12 tournament semifinals.
The Longhorns had been to the Sweet 16 for the past four years. Last season ended with a loss to UCLA in Kansas City.
Williams agreed with her coach that a poor third quarter hurt Texas.
“We came out probably, I wouldn’t say soft but maybe relaxed. We knew we had a good second quarter, and we came out and fell right back (behind) and didn’t respond,” she said.
Indiana jumped out to an early 10-4 lead, paced by Penn with eight points, including two 3-pointers. Wise’s 3 stretched the lead to 23-15 before the end of the first quarter.
Texas tied it at 27 on Audrey Warren’s 3, then pulled in front on Williams’ jumper. Charli Collier’s layup put the Longhorns up 37-27.
Penn’s layup closed it to 37-29 at the break and she led all scorers in the half with 10. Destiny Littleton led Texas with eight points.
“When the spectators who came out to watch this game thought that we were done after that first half, we went in at halftime being down by eight and the message is easy. We’ve been down before and have fought our way back into a lot of games this year, and we did it once again,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said.
It was just the second meeting between the two teams. Texas won the first one, 86-79, back in 1982.
Texas: The Longhorns have has at least 22 wins in each of the last six seasons. … Texas has the fourth-most appearances in the NCAA Tournament, behind Tennessee, Georgia and Stanford. … The Longhorns finished 12-6 in the Big 12 this season.
Indiana: The Hoosiers have won 20 or more games in each of the last four seasons. … Senior forward Kim Royster was the only player on the roster who also played in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. … Indiana finished 9-7 in Big Ten play.
TURNOVER TROUBLE: Texas had 23 turnovers compared to 13 for Indiana. Coach Karen Aston was asked about the miscues in the final two minutes that hurt the Longhorns, but she insisted the loss a culmination of a lot of things.
“Just too many turnovers,” she said. “If you look at the stats, that’s pretty telling.”
HOMETOWN HERO, KIND OF: Yeaney is from Portland, Oregon, and had a large cheering section at the game in Eugene, about a two-hour drive to the south. She identified her former coach at St. Mary’s Academy as one of the most vocal supporters in the crowd.