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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

COLUMN: Indiana women’s basketball shines on both ends of the floor, prepares for Big Ten play

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In its final non-conference matchup of the season, the No. 16 ranked Indiana women’s basketball team defeated the Bowling Green State University Falcons of the Mid-American Conference 84-35. 

Following this victory, Indiana will enter full-time Big Ten play on a nine-game winning streak after losing to Stanford Univeristy on Nov. 12. It is safe to say this Hoosier team is clicking at the right time as Indiana continued to do what it does best.  

Fifth-year senior guard Sara Scalia owned the night with 32 points on 8-for-11 shooting from 3-point range. With the expectation of replacing former Indiana guard Grace Berger, Scalia has done an exceptional job.  

“My first few went down, and it felt good from there and my teammates found me when I was open as the game went on; it was an all-around good game,” Scalia said to Meghan McKeown of the Big Ten Network, postgame. 

So, it’s now time for one of the best conferences in women’s basketball to battle each other until mid-March. What does Indiana do best among the rest on both sides of the ball that will help them retain their Big Ten title? 

Offensive overload night in and night out 

Once again, as simple as this may sound, the Hoosiers get buckets and they do it consistently. Whether it is Scalia hitting eight threes, sophomore guard Yarden Garzon dropping 30 points against the University of Evansville or senior guard Sydney Parrish exploding like she did against Rutgers, the Hoosiers will be a scoring juggernaut from the field.  And that's not even including graduate forward Mackenzie Holmes who had an off night against Bowling Green but still had 10 points and shot 50%.  

The Hoosiers are third in the Big Ten in field goal percentage just above 50%. Surprisingly, coming into Friday’s game, the Hoosiers only averaged seven threes per game but are increasing that number, exceeding that with 14 against BGSU and nine against the University of Evansville. 

Defensive improvements made apparent as opponents fail to execute 

Outside of Stanford on Nov. 12, the Hoosiers have been rock solid on defense in the non-conference. What worked so well against Bowling Green was Indiana’s perimeter and interior defense. 

At times in the contest, the Falcons would try to work the ball into the paint whether it was with drivers or passes to the post, and Indiana shut each of these possessions down. The Hoosiers would immediately cut off the lanes for the Falcons to get good looks at the hoop, forcing turnovers, bad shots and misses from the field. The Falcons also did not make a three pointer on 11 attempts. 

“I was really proud of the way we guarded, we really looked like a tough, gritty team tonight and that’s what I have been wanting to see,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said postgame. “I want more consistency in looking like that defensively, especially with Big Ten playing starting.” 

It is worth noting that less than two minutes into this game the Falcons lost their leader senior guard Lexi Fleming with a non-contact leg injury. Flemming was the Falcons leading scorer and rebounder with 16.7 ppg and five rebounds per game.  

If the Hoosiers keep up this kind of play on both sides of the ball, they will surely remain in the conversation for a Big Ten championship. 

Moren finished her press conference addressing the media on the current state of the Big Ten conference.  

“The target is clearly on our back still and we will continue to get everybody’s best,” Moren said. “It’s not gonna be easy this a great league.” 

Next up for Indiana, the Illinois Fighting Illini come into Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Dec. 31. Tipoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. 

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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