Basketball is officially back in Bloomington, leading many people to wonder who sixth-year head coach Teri Moren will put on the floor this season.
Jaelynn Penn, Brenna Wise and fifth-year senior Ali Patberg return as the starters. Bendu Yeaney returns as well, but an Achilles injury will limit her to start the season.
Backing up the returners, Moren has talented recruits at her disposal, including Indiana Miss Basketball Jorie Allen. But who gets the start?
Junior guard Ali Patberg
Starting with the obvious, Patberg led this Hoosier team with 15.8 points and 4.8 assists per game last season. Coming off an All-Big Ten Second Team selection, Patberg will be a key part to this offense as the team looks to return to the NCAA Tournament.
As the leader on offense, she consistently finds open shooters but can also hit big shots when needed. Last season she shot 43.8% from the floor, good for ninth in the Big Ten, and she finished at 39.4% from three. Her playmaking ability will be a big part of this team’s success.
Junior guard Jaelynn Penn
This season, I’m looking for Penn to continue her scoring but improve on her three-point shooting. While she did lead the team with 57 threes, she only shot 33.7%. If she can improve her success rate with the long ball, she’ll be a killer in the Big Ten where she feasted last year.
Her 15.8 points per game in Big Ten play led the team, and if IU wants to compete for a Big Ten championship, they’ll need Penn to be consistent on both ends of the floor.
Senior forward Brenna Wise
Wise led the team with 6.8 rebounds per game and was the third-highest scorer. She also led the team and the Big Ten and was seventh in the nation with a 91.6 free throw percentage. That mark was good for second highest in program history.
On top of her presence in the paint and her ability to knock down free throws at will, Wise thrives from behind the arc. Her 41.3% from deep led the team. Her ability to score from just about anywhere on the floor makes her a deadly weapon for Moren.
Sophomore forward Aleksa Gulbe
The first newcomer, Gulbe played in 32 games last year and showed potential averaging 5.1 points and 3.6 boards per game, while shooting a respectable 36.4% from deep and 85.4% from the line.
She’s my choice in the lineup because she led her U19 Latvian League to a championship, where she was named the MVP, scoring 32 points and collecting 12 rebounds. If she can bring that production to Assembly Hall, she could be the most dangerous player on the court.
Freshman forward Jorie Allen
Last, but certainly not least, Miss Indiana Basketball could not be left off this lineup. The Bedford North Lawrence product led her team to four consecutive sectional championships and left as the program’s all-time leading scorer. She averaged 18.1 points her senior season to go along with eight rebounds. In the best state for high school basketball, Allen thrived for four years. I can’t wait to see what she brings to the Cream and Crimson.
While I feel confident in this lineup, it’s all up to who Moren feels will provide the Hoosiers the best chance to win. IU starts its season with an exhibition against McKendree University on Nov. 3, with regular season action beginning Nov. 7 against Mount St. Mary’s University.