The last time Indiana women’s basketball played a game at Simon Skojdt Assembly Hall ended in tears when the No. 1 seeded Hoosiers fell to Miami 68-70 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on March 20. The loss served as a stain on an otherwise historic season which saw Indiana become Big Ten regular season champions for the first time since 1983. The Hoosiers' long-awaited return has arrived, as the Cream and Crimson welcome Division II opponent Northwood University on Wednesday.
Graduate student forward Mackenzie Holmes is set to begin her final season as a Hoosier after being named the program's first-ever AP Preseason All-American. Holmes led Indiana in a multitude of statistics in the 2022-23 season including points (22.3 ppg), rebounds (7.2 rpg) and field goal percentage (68%). Her efficiency in the paint and consistency throughout the season helped cement herself as one of the most dominant post threats in the country.
Holmes is set to be the centerpiece for the Hoosiers’ offense throughout the season and will likely play most of the first half against Northwood. One aspect of her play to keep an eye on is her ability beyond the arc. Although she shot just 22% from long range last season, head coach Teri Moren believes Holmes has the potential to grow as a shooter.
“We all know that she can score at a high right around the basket,” Moren said during Indiana’s basketball media day Sept. 20. “But now it becomes, can you become consistent from beyond the arc.”
Replacing Grace Berger
The biggest – and practically only impactful – roster change for the Hoosiers heading into the season is the loss of graduated guard Grace Berger. Serving as Indiana’s primary facilitator, Berger led the team with 5.8 assists per game while providing consistent double-digit scoring. With Berger entering the WNBA over the offseason, the Hoosiers will be searching for ways to replace her production.
It will likely fall on the shoulders of senior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil, as she provided the team with 4.8 assists per game last season and is set to become the primary ball-handler. Another option will be the production of sophomore guard Yarden Garzon, who showcased her passing abilities by averaging 3 assists per game in her freshman season.
Wednesday’s exhibition should highlight the Hoosiers' new look guard-play and provide a baseline idea on which players will step up and fill the shoes of Berger and provide the All-American Holmes with offensive assistance. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on BTN+.
Follow reporters Dalton James (@DaltonMJames) and Quinn Richards (@Quinn_richa), columnist Ryan Canfield (@rpcvsthewrld) and photographer Olivia Bianco (@theoliviabianco) for updates throughout the Indiana women’s basketball season.