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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

No. 16 Indiana women’s basketball’s Chloe Moore-McNeil nets season high in win over Illinois

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Sunday afternoon marked a significant moment for Indiana women’s basketball with former guard Grace Berger returning to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall for the first time since being drafted into the WNBA in April. The longtime Hoosier, who left Indiana as the winningest player in program history, entered the court to a standing ovation to receive her Big Ten Champion ring. Berger was a key part of Indiana’s 2022-23 conference championship campaign, averaging a team high 5.8 assists per game while being a solid scorer with 12.9 points per game from the point guard position.  

Replacing Berger’s production was never going to be an easy task for the Hoosiers, though longtime teammate senior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil took the next step in doing so Saturday afternoon against Illinois. 

Indiana was in a rare position against the Fighting Illini – a close game. Of the Hoosiers’ 11 games prior to Saturday, just two contests were decided by single digits, but in front of a crowd of over 11,000 in Bloomington, Indiana battled back and forth till the final whistle blew with the Hoosiers on top 77-71. Although graduate student forward Mackenzie Holmes’ 30 points and 17 rebounds stand out on the box score, the biggest surprise may have been the offensive production of Moore-McNeil.  

The Hoosiers primary facilitator has done just that, running the offense as a playmaker averaging a team high 5.1 assists per game. However, Moore-McNeil’s scoring output — while up from last season — is an aspect of her game that Indiana head coach Teri Moren wants to see improvement in. 

“Chloe’s had great moments and she runs our team,” Moren said following Indiana’s blowout win over Bowling Green on Dec. 22.But I'll continue to say it, she needs to be aggressive for us offensively, she needs to be a scorer. She needs to be able to be a double-digit scorer for us night in and night out.” 

Against the Fighting Illini, it was clear Moore-McNeil understood what her coach was asking, finishing with a season-high 19 points while shooting an efficient 7-for-11 from the field. With fellow guards fifth year senior Sara Scalia and senior Sydney Parrish shooting a combined 2-for-16 from the field, Moore-McNeil picked up the slack with her best offensive performance of the season. 

“Coach sat me down and she was straight up with me,” Moore-McNeil said postgame. “She said I need you to be more aggressive.” 

Even with her career night scoring the ball, the most important play of the fourth-year Hoosiers’ performance sprung from her ability to see the floor as a playmaker. With 41 seconds left in the fourth quarter and a one-point lead, Moore-McNeil made a drive to the rim which drew help defense leaving sophomore forward Yarden Garzon open in the corner. A perfect kick out dish allowed Garzon to set her feet and drill the corner 3-pointer, putting the Hoosiers up by two possessions and ultimately serving as a nail in the coffin to the Fighting Illini. 

“Not only did she score, but the feed she threw out to Yarden for that knockdown three was as important as anything she did today,” Moren said postgame. “I think her finding the balance of being aggressive but still being able to do her job of facilitating and putting her teammates in positions to score, I think both things need to happen.” 

Indiana’s win puts the Hoosiers at 2-0 in conference play and extends the longest winning streak among Big Ten teams to 10. The last game of 2023 brought Indiana’s record to 27-4 in the calendar year, one which saw the program win its first conference championship in four decades. Indiana will stay in Bloomington for its next matchup against a surging Michigan team who sits 11-3 and is coming off of a 69-60 win over No. 17 Ohio State on Saturday. The possible Top-25 showdown will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday evening. and will be broadcast 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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