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The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

INSTANT RECAP: No. 16 Indiana women’s basketball begins title defense, defeats Rutgers

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No. 16 Indiana women’s basketball tipped off Big Ten play Saturday against Rutgers, beginning its regular season conference title defense. 

Despite dominating Stetson University on Dec. 3, the Hoosiers struggled on the offensive glass, being outrebounded 15-10.  

“They're a version of Stetson to a point, but they’re better,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said Thursday. “They’re gonna crash the glass, so it’s gonna be a great opportunity for us to get better in that area.” 

While Indiana allowed Rutgers to take an early 2-0 lead, the Hoosiers then went on a 7-0 run to move in front. The Scarlet Knights went on a nearly four-minute scoreless drought before tying the contest up at 7.  

The two squads alternated buckets at the end of the opening frame, allowing Rutgers to take a 10-9 lead entering the second quarter. 

Senior forward Sydney Parrish began the second frame with a layup to take an 11-10 lead — one which the Hoosiers never relinquished. 

Senior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil, graduate student forward Mackenzie Holmes and Parrish scored 7, 6 and 5 points, respectively as the Hoosiers took a 27-22 lead into the break.  

Although Moren emphasized rebounding to her squad ahead of their conference opener, the Scarlet Knights held a 19-16 advantage on the boards in the first half, notching 8 second chance points. 

The second half began with the squads going back and forth before Parrish scored 7 consecutive points in a minute-and-34-second span to propel Indiana to a 45-34 advantage. The Scarlet Knights alternated buckets with Holmes before knocking down a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left in the third. 

While they found themselves up as much as 11 in the quarter, the Hoosiers ended the third frame with an 8-point lead. 

Sophomore guard Yarden Garzon found her groove in the middle of the final quarter, scoring 7 points — including the Hoosiers’ final field goal of the contest with three minutes and 42 seconds left — to give Indiana a 12-point lead with just under four minutes remaining. 

“The great thing about Yarden is that nobody speeds Yarden up,” Moren said postgame. “That to me is special. She plays at her own pace, which I think sometimes is hard to guard because she has so much patience.” 

Despite the Hoosiers obtaining a healthy advantage with time ticking away, Rutgers didn’t go away easily. 

The Scarlet Knights went on a 6-0 run — one that could’ve been an 8-0 run had sophomore guard Kaylene Smikle not missed a pair of free throws — to pull within 6 with less than a minute remaining. 

The Hoosiers notched four foul shots at the end of the contest to escape Jersey Mike's Arena with a 66-56 win. 

Despite the victory, Indiana shot three-for-16 from 3-point range, headlined by fifth-year senior guard Sara Scalia’s one-for-six performance. Parrish and Garzon struggled beyond the arc, going one-for-four and zero-for-three, respectively. 

The Hoosiers’ bench failed to make much of a scoring impact, attempting just one shot and missing it while Rutgers’ bench notched 10 points. 

“Tonight it was just one of those nights where we had to keep the vets on the floor because our outside shots weren’t going down as easy as we would have liked,” Moren said. “And you can’t rely on inexperience when you’re in a tie game like this — you rely on experience.” 

Indiana now heads back to Bloomington sitting at 8-1 with its next contest at 7 p.m. Dec. 18 against the University of Evansville at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. 

Follow reporters Dalton James (@DaltonMJames) and Quinn Richards (@Quinn_richa), columnist Ryan Canfield (@_ryancanfield) and photographer Olivia Bianco (@theoliviabianco) for updates throughout the Indiana women’s basketball season. 

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