Indiana girls maul Kentucky All-Stars

Indiana girls maul Kentucky All-Stars


Indiana girls maul Kentucky All-Stars

All-Stars measure up to the hype and history on Friday


All-Stars measure up to the hype and history on Friday

 — Indiana, regarded as one of the deepest and best girls teams the All-Stars have assembled, measured up to the hype and history on Friday night.

Spurred by energy and emotion, Indiana stunned its southern rival with a 29-3 run in the second half and mauled Kentucky 93-49 in the opening game of the home-and-home weekend series. Kentucky will seek revenge when it visits Indianapolis for the rematch on Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

If Indiana duplicates the second-half explosion that rocked Transylvania University’s Clive Beck Center, Kentucky could be in trouble. College teams would struggle to survive that onslaught. Indiana, stocked with Division I talent, had too much firepower, too many weapons.

Miss Basketball Ali Patberg scored 15 points. Jordan Frantz came off the bench to drain four 3-pointers and total 15 points, and Jenna Allen had 10 points and 13 rebounds. Once Indiana cut off Kentucky’s lifeline of offensive rebounds and turnovers, once the intensity reached its expected level, Kentucky was helpless.

“The level just got raised defensively,” Indiana coach Mark Holt said. “We had great defensive pressure, and we got some easy run-outs and baskets. When you do that, the basket expands, the threes start going in, and it all starts clicking. It was really fun to watch them play together.”

The blowout started so innocently. Leading 34-29 following a jumper by Kentucky Miss Basketball Maci Morris, Indiana went to work with Allen’s rebound basket, Brittany Ward’s layup off a Patberg fastbreak pass, Patberg’s steal and layup, and a Patberg pull-up in transition.

Indiana capped a 15-0 burst with steals converted to layups by Alexa Bailey and Zuri Sanders. In only five minutes, the Indiana lead was 53-31, and that was only the beginning of the destruction. The final 12 minutes were nothing but dominance.

“It was pretty much a system breakdown, and then the dam broke,” Kentucky coach Scott Sivills said.

Indiana’s margin of victory has been topped only twice in the 40-year series: 112-59 in 2003, and 108-63 in 1998. Those were both in Indianapolis, not in the heart of the Bluegrass. Indiana expects pride and embarrassment to spur the vanquished.

“Tomorrow is another day,” Holt said. “If I were Kentucky, I would have a chip on my shoulder and try to prove they’re not that much better. I’m sure we’ll get their best shot. We need to find the momentum to get one more win.”

The question was what was more surprising: Indiana’s sluggish start or the final margin. Patberg voted for the former, because it felt like an out-of-body experience. Kentucky blasted Indiana on the offensive glass (with 13) and Indiana converted only 11 of 37 shots while hobbling to a 30-25 lead at the half.

“I would say it was the fact we weren’t playing well, just because I know how good we can be,” Patberg said.

“We knew the things we needed to do that we weren’t getting done,” Holt said. “They were very correctable things. Then the game got a lot easier. I think we just finally wore them down.”

Kentucky has a lot to talk about, a lot to correct: 31 turnovers, 20 of 74 shooting, Indiana’s 62-44 rebounding advantage, 11 Indiana treys by a team that’s built for inside power, no double-digit scorers, only four assists. Kentucky recruit Morgan Rich, Western Kentucky recruit Dee Givens, and West Virginia-bound Alexis Brewer all had 8 points.

“We were out of sync and didn’t run our plays halfway right, didn’t cut hard,” Sivills said. “If you don’t do those things, you’re not going to win.”

Indiana had five scorers in double figures, including Ward (10) and Michal Miller (10). Indiana promised to avoid the trap of taking another win for granted.

“I definitely think they’ll come out looking for blood,” Allen said. “We have to be focused.”

Indiana now leads the series 44-35 after winning four of the last five meetings.

In the boys game, Ryan Cline and Jaelan Sanford made two key defensive plays in the final 30 seconds as Indiana clipped Kentucky 83-80.

Cline, a Purdue recruit, came up with a loose ball and raced for a layup and an 81-80 lead with 25 seconds left. On Kentucky’s final possession, Sanford blocked a shot by Kentucky’s James Bolden and scored on the other end at the buzzer to cap Indiana’s 13th straight win in the series.

Cline had 23 points for Indiana, which squandered a 13-point lead in the first half. Sanford and Matt Holba both added 15 as Indiana extended its series lead to 92-42.

Jalen Perry and Dwayne Sutton had 16 points each for Kentucky while Evan Hall added 12.


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