Following two hard losses in its nonconference schedule, IU women’s basketball has picked up the pieces to find a rhythm in its Big Ten opener against the University of Nebraska.
The Hoosiers substantially improved their shooting from the last game against the University of Tennessee, during which only two of 27 3-pointers fell and they shot 30% from the field. IU, determined not to repeat such numbers, brought the heat as it went 40% from the field and went 6-18 on 3-pointers in its 81-45 win against Nebraska.
“We knew this was going to be a fresh start today for us to start gluing our pieces together,” sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes said. “We had great energy from the starting five to everyone on the bench.”
From the start of the game, the Hoosiers found a quick tempo that challenged Nebraska defensively. IU went on a 20-5 run for the majority of the second quarter. By the end of the half, all five starters were on the board with points. The Hoosiers continued their unselfish play throughout the game and ended with 11 players contributing points.
“All of us together try to bring that good juice and that good energy even after those two disappointing losses,” junior forward Aleksa Gulbe said. “That is what I really love about this team is that everybody is capable of speaking up and bringing great energy every single day.”
Gulbe found the rhythm she was looking for after completing her first career double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Complementing Gulbe’s double-double, freshman forward Kiandra Browne earned her own first double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Dominating on the boards, the Hoosiers out-rebounded the Huskers 61-35.
Browne and her fellow bench players proved to Nebraska that the starting five weren't the only ones who came to play and finished off the 36 point win for the Hoosiers. Freshman guard Chloe Moore-McNeil finished the game with seven points and three rebounds while junior guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary started the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and contributed five points.
“We have to have a bench,” head coach Teri Moren said. “We have to have some production from those guys. When they come in they need to elevate our play. I want them to come in and have an impact, and in order to do that you have to have game experience, so we took this as an opportunity.”
Both the bench players and starters contributed to a team balance and cohesiveness on both ends of the court which they lacked against Tennessee and the University of Kentucky.
“This is what we have been wanting and needing: rhythm,” Moren said.