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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

COLUMN: No. 16 Indiana women’s basketball shows its depth in close 77-71 victory over Illinois

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No. 16 ranked Indiana women’s basketball picked up a win in its second conference game of the season against Illinois 77-71. 

Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall was packed, even with students on break. All 11,600 fans were presented with an amazing game that ended with entertaining possessions and stellar offense that went down to the final seconds.  

Illinois came into Sunday’s game with a 6-5 record and without a Quad 1 or Quad 2 win. It was a perfect opportunity for the Fighting Illini to get a big win.  

The storyline coming into this one was the matchup of dominant forwards. Illinois senior forward Kendall Bostic and Indiana graduate student forward Mackenzie Holmes were set to battle down low. Bostic finished nine-for-18 from the floor with 18 points in a tremendous effort for Illinois. Holmes put up a scintillating 30 points and seven rebounds. 

Indiana’s performance proves that they do not need all five starters at their best in each game to win in the Big Ten. Fifth-year senior guard Sara Scalia and senior guard Sydney Parrish struggled Sunday, scoring a combined 7 points while going two-for-16 from the field.  

With Parrish and Scalia unable to produce their typical scoring outputs, senior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil stepped into a rather unfamiliar role. Although she has regressed from 9.5 points per game last season to 7.8 this season, Moore-McNeil had her way Sunday. She scored 19 points, shooting seven-for-11. Moore-McNeil's primary role this season has been to facilitate and get primary offensive playmakers in position to score, but Sunday’s performance proves she can score when relied upon. 

A part of the offensive game plan for Indiana this season has been having Holmes play the first five or so minutes of the game to diagnose the defense and then putting in sophomore forward Lilly Meister. Meister has excelled in her 11.6 minutes per game, averaging 4.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Sunday, Meister was beating out double teams under the basket early in the first half. She adds small bunches of points — like the 8 points she scored Sunday — in Holmes’ breaks on the bench. If Meister keeps up the pace, her freshness will be a key piece for Indiana in the Big Ten. 

Sophomore guard Yarden Garzon always has an effect on the game when she is on the floor. But Sunday, it wasn’t shooting — Garzon had five assists and six rebounds. While she was ultimately responsible for the dagger that sent the Illini home with the loss, her impact in facilitating the offense and rebounding the ball allowed the Hoosiers to notch their 10th consecutive victory. She finished with 12 points on four-for-seven shooting with two 3-pointers.  

With the win, a happy Indiana head coach Teri Moren took the podium postgame, addressing the packed Assembly Hall crowd.  

“What a great crowd, I tell ‘em all the time, they get us to the finish line with their energy that they give us, they know when to cheer, they know when we need them the most,” Moren said. “We are so grateful they spend some of their New Year's Eve Day with us and they are so important to the success that we had.” 

The Hoosiers now sit at 2-0 in the Big Ten, but as it is said all the time in college basketball, the road does not get any easier. The Hoosiers take on Michigan at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Bloomington with the game being televised on the Big Ten Network.

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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