INDIANAPOLIS — Nicole Cardano-Hillary led a balanced attack with 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and No. 14 Indiana moved within a game of making Big Ten Conference history with a 70-62 win over No. 13 Ohio State in the semifinals on Saturday.
If the fifth-seeded Hoosiers can beat the winner of the Nebraska-Iowa game in Sunday's championship game they will become the first team to win four straight to win the tournament.
Indiana was a five-seed in 2002 when it won the title but there were fewer teams in the league and hasn't been back to the title game since.
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Ali Patberg scored 15 points for the Hoosiers (22-7), Mackenzie Holmes had 12, Chloe Moore-McNeil 11 and Grace Berger 10. Berger had six rebounds and seven assists and Cardano-Hillary had five assists as Indiana had 20 helpers on 24 baskets.
Jacy Sheldon scored 22 points for top-seeded Ohio State (23-6), league co-champion with Iowa, and Taylor Mikesell and Braxtin Miller had 12 apiece.
The Buckeyes never led and fell behind 38-28 late in the second quarter before Mikesell hit a jumper. The lead stayed around 10 in the third quarter but a Mikesell 3-pointer and Miller fast-break layup pulled Ohio State within 49-44. Berger answered with a jumper and four free throws restored the lead, which was 57-48 going into the fourth quarter.
Twice the lead got to 13 before a Miller 3 and two Sheldon layups had Ohio State within 68-62 with a minute left but the Buckeyes missed their last three shots.
Indiana went 5 of 10 from 3-point range to 4 of 21 for Ohio State but the Hoosiers were 17 of 23 from the foul line — although five of the misses were in the fourth quarter — while Ohio State was 4 for 4.
OSU will now wait to see who it will play in the NCAA tournament, as it is virtually assured of an at-large bid.