With graduate guard Grace Berger sitting out with a knee injury and the sudden announcement of sophomore guard Kaitlin Peterson leaving the team, No. 5 Indiana women’s basketball’s guard depth was starting to look thin Thursday. The Hoosier guards responded emphatically with a 3-point bonanza to down No. 6 University of North Carolina 87-63.
“On a night that we needed to be really good outside the arc, we were able to do that,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said. “They all have the ability to step out and shoot beyond the arc and tonight things were certainly going their way.”
Indiana finished 12-of-22 from behind the arc, tying both its season-high in threes made and fifth-most in program history for a single game. With a higher 3-point percentage — 54.5% — than total field goal percentage — 53.3% — the deep ball was the best option for the Hoosiers, a rare occasion for any team.
The Tar Heels ripped off a 7-0 run to start the game, but the Hoosiers quickly responded with a 13-0 run, and never looked back on their lead. Amid that run, freshman guard Henna Sandvik started the 3-point party and junior guard Sydney Parrish capped off the run with a long ball of her own.
It was Parrish who led the shooting frenzy and garnered all the attention. In just her second start of the season, Parrish shot 4-7 from three on her way to a season-high 24 points. Parrish said her lights out performance can be attributed to a recent adjustment in practice.
“I changed my shot this week, two days ago,” Parrish said. “Coach (Sayavongchanh) changed my shot and I guess it worked for today.”
Senior guard Sara Scalia scored 12 points and matched Parrish’s four 3-pointers made, also doing so on seven shots. Two of her four threes were from way downtown, showing off her limitless range.
Freshman guard Yarden Garzon added two additional threes and junior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil made her only attempt from deep. In total, 11 of Indiana’s 12 3-pointers came from newcomers to this year’s roster. While Moren’s previous squads have struggled with depth and outside shooting, her offseason additions continue to be positive areas.
“I do think this is a confidence thing with this group,” Moren said. “This isn’t foreign to them, playing in a big-time environment like we did tonight.”
The Hoosiers finished 12-of-22 from deep, but early in the fourth quarter the mark was 12-of-17: an incredibly efficient 70.5% shooting clip. At the game’s conclusion, Indiana scored as many points from the 3-point line as it did in the paint — 36 each. Each attempt from beyond the arc seemed all but certain to swish in down the stretch, including a deep ball from Garzon to beat the third-quarter buzzer.
The Hoosiers would likely prefer to have their star guard in Berger on the floor every night, but her role as distributor has been assumed by Garzon and Moore-McNeil in a group effort. The two guards combined for 16 assists with only three turnovers, dicing apart the defense and helping create the many open looks from downtown.
Indiana had not had multiple games with double-digit 3-pointers made since the 2018-2019 season. Just eight games into the season, the Hoosiers have already achieved that accomplishment and are more of a perimeter threat than ever.
The hot-handed Hoosiers will look to continue their ways as they open conference play against Illinois Sunday afternoon at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The game will tip-off at 2 p.m. and is available to watch on BTN+.