IU women’s basketball will put its 5-0 record on the line when it takes on Wake Forest University on Wednesday as part of the 12th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
With a perfect record, IU is off to its best start since the 2014-15 season. Meanwhile, Wake Forest will come in with a 3-3 record that includes a three-game losing streak.
Here are three things to know before IU faces its second Power Five conference opponent of the season.
IU is above .500 on the road in the challenge.
In the 11 years IU has participated in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the team has gone 6-5 overall and 3-2 on the road. However, the trend for IU does not resemble what the conference has done as the ACC has had the advantage eight times over the Big Ten.
Wake Forest is on the same trail of contradicting the norm. The Demon Deacons are 3-6 in the challenge overall and a 1-2 at home, and they didn’t participate in 2013 and 2008.
Both teams are coming off losses in the challenge as IU lost to then-No. 4 University of Louisville in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall last season, and Wake Forest lost at Penn State University.
IU is 2-2 under Coach Teri Moren in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but IU’s 2018 WNIT Championship game win came against an ACC opponent in Virginia Tech.
“I’m looking forward to it because we’ve got to learn to play on the road,” Moren said. “We have a responsibility to our conference, and that’s to win games against the ACC opponent.”
IU’s offense is on the opposite trend of Wake Forest’s.
After scoring less than 70 points in each of its first two games, IU’s offense has set season-highs in points scored in each of the last three games.
Against University of North Florida, University of Florida and Northern Illinois University, IU has scored 75, 83 and 91 points, respectively.
Five players have scored in double digits in both the Florida and NIU games, with freshmen Grace Berger and Aleksa Gulbe posting career highs in points scored.
Wake Forest cannot say the same for its offense, as the team has yet to score 70 points in a game this season.
Senior forward Elisa Penna averages more than 15 points per game in the four games she’s played in this season. Penna’s best performance of the season came against Mercer University when she posted 26 points and six rebounds.
Bendu Yeaney’s defense has been key.
Sophomore guard Bendu Yeaney came into the season with a nagging Achilles injury that kept her out of IU’s exhibition game and appeared to affect her in the team’s first two games.
But in the last three matchups, Yeaney has stepped up big for IU, averaging more than 13 points per game while guarding the opposing teams’ top scorer.
Florida’s Funda Nakkasoglu and NIU’s Courtney Woods both averaged 20 or more points ahead of games against IU, but both were limited to 10 points or less against Yeaney.
Wake Forest’s top-scoring guard is junior Alex Sharp who scored 15 points in her only game of the season Saturday against East Carolina University.