Entering the 2022-23 season, Indiana women’s basketball had sky high expectations.
Despite the departure of three key players in Ali Patberg, Aleksa Gulbe and Nicole Cardaño-Hillary, the team boasted a strong lineup, including the addition of University of Oregon transfer Sydney Parrish. A Big Ten regular season championship and a deep run in the NCAA Tournament were seemingly in the cards.
While the Hoosiers’ season ended earlier than they could’ve hoped with a loss to the University of Miami in the Round of 32 of the NCAA tournament. Last season was still an astounding success with the team winning a conference title. The 2022-23 season marked then-freshman guard Yardon Garzon’s introduction to Indiana fans. The guard was a highly-touted prospect, originally from Ra’anana, Israel.
She had a taste of what playing in the United States would look like from her sister, Lior Garzon, who spent two seasons at the University of Villanova before transferring to Oklahoma State University prior to last season.
Now a sophomore, Garzon has cemented her identity as a true three-point specialist, seemingly not asked to do much else when it comes to three level scoring. Granted, the Hoosiers had their three level scorer — Grace Berger. Berger moved on to the Women’s National Basketball Association, Indiana head coach Teri Moren fully expects Garzon to take that big leap to become a pure three level scorer.
“I want to be able to utilize her like we used Grace Berger,” Moren said at Indiana Basketball’s media day on Sept. 20. “We feel like we can do some unique things because she is a big guard.”
A WNBA-caliber three-level scorer a la Grace Berger, for those who don’t know, is somebody who can score anywhere on the floor. A three-level scorer can drive and finish at the rim and hit a jumper from anywhere on the perimeter of the floor for two or three-range. Often in women’s basketball, all of the best players can score from anywhere, especially with guards. Whether it's Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, Louisiana State University’s or Aaliyah Boston formerly of South Carolina, and now with the Indiana Fever.
So, why does Yarden Garzon fit in this category? Garzon is listed as a 6-foot-3-inch combo guard/forward who can get to the basket like a point guard. One game from 2023 that really showed promise in Garzon’s leap to a three-level scorer is the Ohio State game in Bloomington on Jan. 26, 2023.
Teri Moren said during her first media availability Zoom of the season, On the morning of Oct. 30, Moren said that Garzon is just a fun player to coach. Moren also commented on the physicality of Garzon and how she is taking that improved trait and working with her back to the basket.
“She’s so fun to coach because you can play her at so many different spots., She is so versatile,” Moren said.
During her freshman year, Garzon shot 70 of 145 from beyond the arc — a whopping 45.6%. Garzon’s season was so good she broke the program record for most three-pointers in a single season by a freshman.
Garzon was Indiana’s fourth leading scorer last season with 355 points, trailing then-senior forward Mackenzie Holmes and guards Berger and Parrish. Garzon totaled 279 field goal attempts, making 127 of those.
Garzon jump started her growth as a player this summer, when she played for the Israeli national team. Garzon averaged 11.3 points per game in three international games for Israel, with a scoring high of 15 points against Italy on July 16.
While Garzon expressed her appreciation for going overseas during the summer, she said she is ready to be back in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
“I missed IU,” Garzon said. “I missed the people, my coaches and my teammates. It’s an incredible place to be, and I am excited to be back.”
Not only did Moren speak about Garzon’s on-court development, but she also spoke about her development physically. When Garzon joined the Hoosiers’ team this summer for two games in Greece, Moren said she originally thought Garzon had gotten taller, but it was actually Garzon’s shoulders filling out. Moren credits the Hoosiers’ training staff for her substantial progression.
Moren also said she will look for more leadership from Garzon this season.
Indiana is the reigning Big Ten champion, so the Hoosiers will have a target on their back this year, but it doesn’t faze Garzon.
“I think we will always play with a chip on our shoulder,” Garzon said. “We want to win and keep track of what we are focused on. We are focused on ourselves right now, and with these new pieces we are trying to get better.”
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.