In the second highest scoring win in program history, No. 24 IU women’s basketball got points from all over the floor.
Every single Hoosier who stepped on the floor made a basket, and as a whole they shot 63.3% from the field. Their 111 points is the second most points ever scored in program history. In a game where everything went right, it was the five freshmen that stole the show.
With 5:44 left in the first quarter, freshman forward Mackenzie Holmes checked in, and she never looked back. Through the rest of the quarter she would have 11 points to go along with two rebounds, one steal and an assist. Despite playing just the fifth most minutes, Holmes led all scorers, going a perfect 5-5 from the field.
In just her second career game, Holmes drew a huge ovation when she checked out for the final time. Holmes would finish the game as the leading scorer with 22 points. She would finish a perfect 9-9 from the field. She also led the way with five blocks and was the only one other Hoosier to record a block on the day.
Redshirt freshman guard Chanel Wilson was the other freshman to hit double digits. She had 10 points on 50% shooting, including 2-5 from deep.
Wilson didn’t just shoot efficiently; she passed the ball extremely well. She had seven assists, and a couple of those were off some flashy passes that had the entire bench jumping out of their seats. Usually it’s junior guard Ali Patberg drawing the attention, but Wilson stole the spotlight, not just with her passes but her dribble moves as well.
In the first half, Wilson pushed the ball fast up the side of the court. As she approached the wing, a defender stepped in her way. Wilson stopped on a dime, put the ball between her legs and sent the defender crashing to the floor.
I thought for a second that play would be stopped and Wilson would be issued a technical for her nasty ankle-breaker. But play resumed and Wilson continued playing tough, collecting three steals as well, a team high.
Freshman forward Jorie Allen and freshman center Hannah Noveroske had a quiet game on the stat sheet, but a big game in the eyes of the fans. Noveroske was one of two Hoosiers to go perfect from the field, as she went 4-4 en route to eight points. She used her size to get inside and push her way to the rim, something that she will benefit from in the future.
Allen finished with nine points to go along with five rebounds. She had no blocks in the stat sheet, but that zero should have an asterisk next to it. She swatted a shot away late in the game, but was whistled for a foul. Everyone in the building saw she got all ball, including IU head coach Teri Moren, who was quick to defend her player.
“I thought it was a clean block,” Moren said. “That’s what we got to look forward to from Jorie. She’s going to make all those 50/50 plays; those things that don’t show up on the stat sheet she’s gonna do.”
The hustle was apparent all day from the freshmen, but nobody exemplified hustle more than freshman guard Grace Waggoner. The preferred walk-on only played five minutes of garbage time, but she definitely made the most of it. On two late plays she made her presence felt and received big roars from the home crowd.
After a turnover on offense, she ran down the floor and stood under the basket as Nicholls State sophomore Lauryn Bowie drove for a layup. Waggoner set her feet and drew contact, prompting the official to blow the whistle and punch her fist, signaling an offensive charge.
Not too much later, Waggoner drove inside herself and kissed one off the glass, getting her first points of the day and sending her to the line. When the whistle blew, the entire bench erupted to show their teammate some love.
“We just love to see everybody succeed, especially somebody like Grace who’s walking on to the team,” junior guard Jaelynn Penn said. “She just loves to be here, be around the team. She doesn’t get as many opportunities, but she comes hard every day.”
The future looks bright for Moren and the Hoosiers.
Five freshmen touched the floor, and all five scored. That depth is going to be crucial for IU as it has a tough schedule ahead of them, with the Paradise Jam later this month and conference play after that. But with these freshmen, fans shouldn’t be too worried.