It’s been five seasons since Indiana women’s basketball lost a Big Ten season opener, a number the Hoosiers hope to extend as they prepare for an early season bout with Rutgers on Saturday afternoon.
The Scarlet Knights enter the matchup with a 6-5 record, putting up three blowout wins in their last three outings. Led by sophomore guard Kaylene Smikle and junior forward Destiny Adams, Rutgers has produced quality offensive performances in the early season. Most recently, the Scarlet Knights put up 98 points in a home win over La Salle University on Dec. 5.
Containing teams on the defensive end has been a focus for Indiana and head coach Teri Moren, who remarked on the team’s inconsistency on that side of the floor following a narrow victory over the University of Maine on Nov. 30.
“I think sometimes when our shots aren’t falling it affects us defensively,” Moren said. “And that can’t happen. I think we still have a way to go defensively.”
Last time out, the Hoosiers stifled Stetson University on Dec.3 en route to a 72-34 win, holding the Hatters to just 12 made field goals on 61 attempts.
The ability to create stops on the defensive end is a helpful tool for the Hoosiers offensive game plan as well. Indiana has shown its affection for running the floor with pace and creating scoring opportunities from the fast break. In the win over Stetson, Indiana tallied 26 fast break points.
“I think that our defensive stops led to offensive breakouts,” senior guard Sydney Parrish said.
On the offensive end, 3-point shooting has been another talking point of the Hoosiers in the early season, as shots beyond the arc haven’t been particularly consistent. The team shot an inefficient five-for-22 against Stetson but was a combined 19-for-40 across the two games in Fort Myers, Florida. Poor shooting has hurt Indiana in the early season, most notably in the 96-64 loss to Stanford on Nov. 12 where the team went five-for-32 from long range. In the conference opener against Rutgers, the Hoosiers will look to get in an early rhythm to keep the Scarlet Knights from potentially finding the upset.
Following the early conference opener, Indiana will play two more non-conference tune-ups against the University of Evansville and Bowling Green University before the bulk of Big Ten play begins. However, the Hoosiers have their focus locked on starting their Big Ten championship defense with a 1-0 start.
The game is set to tip off at 4 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
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