It’s all been leading up to this for the IU women’s basketball team.
After a long preseason that included a trip to Italy and an exhibition game in which the Hoosiers defeated Gannon, 82-38, the 2017-18 season will finally begin for Coach Teri Moren and her squad Saturday.
In its season opener, IU will play the Arkansas State Red Wolves at 2 p.m. in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The Red Wolves who are coming off a season in which they went 7-25 overall and 4-14 in Sun Belt conference play.
For Moren, she said it will be a game in which she still wants to see more improvement from her young team. Even though the Hoosiers dominated Gannon in their first bit of action in Assembly Hall, Moren says her team still needs to cut back on the turnovers and improve from the free throw line.
“We were obviously pleased with some things that we did get to see,” Moren said. “There’s always room for improvement when you have a young group of ladies out there.”
Moren will be forced to play many young players on her roster that only consists of ten eligible players, five of whom are freshmen. After committing 18 turnovers in the Gannon matchup, the growing pains are still evident.
However, Moren said the exhibition was a good way to get through some of the early anxiety and get them ready for the real deal in the regular season.
“We knew right when the lights came on and there were fans in the seats that it was going to be different for some of them,” Moren said. “As anxious and excited as they were, we knew we would have to get past some of the growing pains throughout that game.”
Even though there were too many turnovers from the Hoosiers in Moren’s eyes, they were still able to force a number of turnovers as well. Despite the fact that Gannon committed 26 turnovers of its own, Moren said she still wants to see improvement defensively from her team as the season opens as well.
“We were a little disappointed because we did have a game plan going in of how we wanted to defend," Moren said. "There wasn’t a lot of screening action and there was a lot of brush action when were really trying to switch. When you want to be a great switching team, you have to be really good at communicating and that’s still an area where we really need to improve.”
In Arkansas State’s most recent preseason action, they defeated Lyon 73-63 on Tuesday. In that game, junior guard Akasha Westbrook recorded 14 points and eight rebounds, senior forward Lauren Bradshaw added 13 points and forward Tahlon Hopkins had eight points and seven rebounds of her own.
Although the Red Wolves won’t be taken lightly, Saturday’s game will not necessarily be about the opponent for IU.
As Moren said, the early seasons matchups will be more about finally getting out on the court at Assembly Hall and starting to see the improvement from the young players that will prove to be important down the road as the season progresses.
“There’s no question there’s potential there,” Moren said of her freshmen. “We just have to get them experience and the only way to do that is by playing games.”
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