Coming off a 79-67 upset over No. 11 University of Tennessee on Monday in Knoxville, No. 12 Indiana women’s basketball will continue its nonconference schedule against Bowling Green State University at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Bloomington.
Despite the big early-season win, head coach Teri Moren said the Hoosiers are focused on the future instead of focusing on what they have already accomplished.
“There's a 24-hour rule in our program: whether we win or we come up short, you’ve got 24 hours to either enjoy or feel bad for yourself and then the next day we show up and we get back to work,” Moren said. “All of our interest now lies in putting a gameplan together for our players to have success against Bowling Green.”
Indiana and Bowling Green both enter the matchup undefeated — 3-0 and 2-0, respectively. Last year, Bowling Green went 17-16 and was knocked out in the quarterfinals of the Mid-American Conference tournament but qualified for the Women’s Basketball Invitational. The Falcons made a run in the eight-team postseason tournament to finish in third place.
Each of Bowling Green’s top five-point scorers from last year returned for the 2022-23 season and the team will also benefit from the return of junior guard Lexi Fleming. Fleming missed all last season due to an injury after leading the team in scoring and being named MAC Freshman of the Year in 2020-21.
Although Fleming did not start in the Falcon’s first two games as she continues working back to full-strength, she has the potential to fill up the stat sheet. Controlling Fleming and senior forward Kadie Hempfling — Bowling Green’s two preseason All-MAC Second Team honorees — will be vital to Indiana’s success Thursday.
Another area of importance for the Hoosiers against the Falcons will be 3-point shooting. In their season-opener, the Hoosiers made 12 shots from deep — more than any game last season — but only made 13 combined across the next two contests. Although Indiana only shot 8-29 from 3-point range on Monday, the threat of talented shooters behind the arc forced Tennessee’s defense to stretch, creating more spacing for senior forward Mackenzie Holmes to work inside.
“They’ve surrounded Holmes with more 3-point shooters,” Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper said after Monday’s game. “That makes them more difficult to guard. There were times that I wanted to try to help down in the post but there was nobody to help off of, so I think that’s going to be a huge plus for them moving forward.”
However, the Hoosiers will need to improve their shooting — just 25% in its last two games — if they want defenses to continue respecting the danger they pose from deep.
Against Bowling Green, Indiana is 4-2 all-time but the teams have not faced each other since the 2008-09 season, when Indiana won 75-67 in Bowling Green, Ohio in the second round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. Thursday’s game is the only matchup on Bowling Green’s schedule against a power-five conference team — let alone a ranked team.
“As I always tell our players, when you face teams like the Vermonts and Bowling Greens, we’re probably their biggest opponent on their schedule.” Moren said. “There’s an extra energy, focus that people come in here and play with.”
The Hoosiers and Falcons tip off at 7 p.m. at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall and will be streamed on BTN+.
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