Coming off one of its best seasons in program history, Indiana women’s basketball fans returned to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall at Hoosier Hysteria on Saturday afternoon.
Since the last time fans were in the building, the team made its furthest ever NCAA Tournament run to reach the Elite Eight. After a historic season in front of nothing but empty seats, the Hoosiers were excited to see fans in the stands once again.
“It's gonna feel surreal when we walk out there and see people out there,” junior forward Mackenzie Holmes said. “I'm really excited and thankful that we have so many people wanting to come out and support us.”
After players and coaches took the court, head coach Teri Moren and graduate student guard Ali Patberg addressed the fans in Assembly Hall. They said the team is ready to capitalize on last season’s success to make another deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
“This has been home for me for as long as I can remember,” Patberg said. “I’ve seen those banners up for as long as I can remember, and our goal is to bring one home to the hall.”
Moren said she wanted her team to be just as aggressive on the defensive side of the ball in 2021-22. The Hoosiers finished second in scoring defense in the Big Ten last season.
“We’re gonna hang our hats on the defensive side of the ball,” Moren said. “We’re gonna be tough, we’re gonna be gritty, and we’re gonna guard hard.”
While Indiana’s coaching staff donned black T-shirts reading “Elite 8” during the event, the team wants more, despite last season being the best finish in program history.
“Coach Moren tells us every day that what happened last year doesn't matter,” Holmes said. “It's a new season, it's a new year with new opportunities.”
The team returns most of a roster that finished second in the Big Ten a season ago. Now looking to accomplish even more, Indiana will start its season on Nov. 5 against the University of Indianapolis at Assembly Hall.
"We are looking forward to this year. Last year was incredible on so many fronts,” Moren said. “To get to the Sweet 16, to play in the Elite Eight, to be one game away from the Final Four. And that's the goal, to be playing in Final Fours.”