It will be pretty difficult for IU women’s basketball to top the opening weekend they had.
Starting off 2-0, including a historic victory over Nicholls State University, helped the Hoosiers move up to No. 21 in the AP Top 25 poll, the best ranking in program history.
IU head coach Teri Moren has plenty to be happy about with breakout performances by sophomore guard Grace Berger against Mount St. Mary’s and freshman forward Mackenzie Holmes against Nicholls State.
Berger’s 24 points and Holmes’ 22 points led balanced scoring attacks and tight defense that limited Nicholls State to 25.9% shooting and Mt. St. Mary's to 37.3% shooting from the floor.
The Hoosiers’ schedule will become more challenging soon, as their Thanksgiving break slate features games against the University of Florida, No. 6 University of South Carolina, No. 2 Baylor University and Washington State University.
Before then, IU has one more game against a smaller mid-major foe, Jackson State University on Sunday at Assembly Hall.
Here are three things to know before the Hoosiers take on the Tigers.
All out or nothing
Moren made it clear after the Hoosiers' season opener against the Mountaineers; she said she was not impressed with her team’s second-half effort.
Sunday’s win against Nicholls State was a different story, as IU played an engaging up-tempo style for the entire game, racking up the second most points for a game in program history at 111.
The Hoosiers, while they may not be able to duplicate that offensive production again, will need to sustain their effort on the glass and in transition to be successful against ranked opponents like the Bears and Gamecocks.
This Sunday’s game with the Tigers will be a good chance to keep building on those good habits.
Elementary, my dear Watson
One of the most pleasant surprises for the Hoosiers so far has been Holmes. She leads the team with 18.5 points per game, in two games off the bench.
Her dominant bench efforts, notably against Nicholls State when she scored 22 points to go along with five blocks and five rebounds, earned her Big Ten Freshman of the Week, as well as a spot on the Big Ten Player of the Week honor roll.
Holmes has been rewarded for running out in transition and has otherwise been an absolute bully in the post, leading to 83.3% shooting percentage in her first two collegiate games.
The Hoosiers will have to rely on Holmes’ effort to stay at this level once they begin facing physically larger opponents.
On the road for a while
When the Hoosiers play the Tigers on Sunday, it will be the last game the Hoosiers play at Assembly Hall for almost three weeks.
IU will spend most of that time in Florida or the Caribbean, as the team visits Florida in Gainesville for a game on Nov. 22 before heading to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam. Then the team heads north to Miami to take on the University of Miami in the Big Ten/ACC challenge.
The Hoosiers need to take advantage of their last home game in November before an incredibly challenging road trip.