Generally speaking, a 40-point victory indicates a pretty strong day at the office. However, No. 21 IU women’s basketball knows there’s still plenty of room to grow following a 91-51 win over Jackson State University on Sunday.
Balanced offense saw the Hoosiers with five players finishing in double digits, led once again by freshman forward Mackenzie Holmes’ 15 points off the bench. In terms of taking care of the ball the Hoosiers managed to turn the ball over only seven times while racking up 20 assists.
But they only narrowly outrebounded the Tigers 37-31 and shot 25% from three and 68% from the free throw line.
“I think the silver lining might be that we managed to score 91 points while sitting our starters for most of the fourth,” IU head coach Teri Moren said. “I’m happy with the win but realize that we’ve got to shoot the ball much better. We've got to guard much better ,and we’ve got to rebound much better.”
The Hoosiers did find some success in the post, with Holmes' 15 points supplemented by 10 points from sophomore forward Aleksa Gulbe and a season-high nine points from senior forward Brenna Wise.
“We have really great post players, so if we can’t get anything going on the perimeter, we also have an inside game and also get easy looks there,” sophomore guard Grace Berger said.
Jackson State’s athleticism forced IU to look down low instead of exploiting the fast break as they did against Nicholls State, finishing with 19 points in transition.
What’s more is that the Tigers’ athleticism and frantic offensive style led to a lot of 50/50 balls that the Hoosiers did not get to. In the eyes of Moren, the Hoosiers' defense left a lot to be desired.
“It just looked to me, especially in the second half, we were just getting beat off the bounce, Moren said. “The challenge for us was going to be able to guard our man without fouling, move our feet, contest shots, not foul jump shooters. It just seemed like time and time again we were watching bad closeouts, watching those ladies go right past us.”
There were fouls aplenty for IU with Holmes and Wise each picking up four and four others with three. In total the Hoosiers were called for 23 personal fouls, while the Tigers were called for 24.
But the bottom line for the Hoosiers is that they emerged with another win and are off to an undefeated 3-0 start in which they are averaging more than 90 points a game.
The schedule will pick up from here, as the Hoosiers will travel to Gainesville, Flordia, to take on the University of Florida before a grueling three game set at the Paradise Jam. There’s still plenty of room for improvement for the 21st ranked team in the country.
“We were intentional about how we put this schedule together,” Moren said. “We wanted to get our feet wet early at home. Now the challenge becomes going on the road. I would suspect our mindset going in, even away from Assembly Hall, is pretty much going to be the same.”
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