After waiting 226 days, No. 11 Indiana women’s basketball will grace the court in a regular season contest. The Hoosiers will play the University of Vermont Tuesday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
Indiana cruised to an 86-43 exhibition win over Kentucky Wesleyan College on Friday night in a game with promising displays from the Hoosiers. Now, Indiana will take the court with its record on the line – and here’s what to look for:
Indiana’s increased depth
Head coach Teri Moren’s squads have notoriously received little production from their benches in recent years. On occasions where injuries struck or a conference win was needed, Moren going six deep was a common sight.
The Hoosiers should see a notable difference this year. After hitting the transfer portal hard and bringing in a solid recruiting class of four freshmen, Indiana can consistently play eight or nine players and compete at a high level.
Nine Hoosiers played double-digit minutes in Friday’s exhibition. Junior guard Sydney Parrish was first off the bench and will play a crucial role in Indiana’s game plan with the second unit.
Whether or not Indiana will use that depth is yet to be determined. The Catamounts return four starters from last season’s 20-11 team and should be a formidable test for the Hoosiers.
Outside shooting as a strength
In 2021-22, Indiana ranked 12th in the Big Ten in 3-pointers made and attempted – making 160 of 485. The long ball was hardly a factor in the Hoosiers’ playbook.
Both of those numbers should dramatically increase this year. Senior guard Sara Scalia (111) and Parrish (52) made more threes combined (163) than Indiana (160) last season at their respective programs.
Another newcomer, freshman forward Yarden Garzon, displayed her ability to stretch the floor Friday night. It will be a strange sight for a while, but the Hoosiers have the tools to be lethal from deep.
The new-look Indiana team will be immediately tested Tuesday night. Last season, Vermont ranked ninth in the country, holding its opponents to 25.9% from 3-point range.
Indiana holding onto its defensive identity
A key talking point for Indiana is the loss of several key players from last season, such as guards Nicole Cardano-Hilary and Ali Patberg. The two starters were lockdown defenders on the perimeter, and their departures led to questions as to whether the Hoosiers could play at the same level defensively.
Friday’s exhibition win was a promising start. Indiana held Kentucky Wesleyan to 43 points on 36.7% shooting and forced 27 turnovers by the Panthers.
A defensive-oriented team last season, Vermont’s offense was the lesser of two ends. This style of play could favor Indiana – but also result in a low-scoring affair.
While most top-25 teams' schedules are relatively easy to start their seasons, the Hoosiers didn’t exactly choose noncompetitive opponents. Indiana will be favored, but Vermont may keep the score close.
The Catamounts were picked third in the America East Conference, while senior guard Emma Utterback and junior forward Anna Olson were two of six total selections to the America East preseason all-conference team. They won their sole exhibition game 72-38.
Tuesday’s game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on BTN+.