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The Indiana Daily Student

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COLUMN: How Indiana women’s basketball learned from prior mistakes to defeat Iowa

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For more photos, see PHOTOS: No. 14 Indiana women's basketball basketball finds first top ten win against Iowa.

With postseason implications on the line, No. 14 Indiana women’s basketball walked into Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall needing a signature win. The No. 4 Iowa Hawkeyes and senior guard Caitlin Clark stood in their way, but the Hoosiers secured the win they so desperately needed. 

A loud and hostile Assembly Hall was the last thing the Hawkeyes heard after exiting the court as the buzzer sounded with a final of 86-69, a fitting end to a noisy night. 

After the Hoosiers’ gut punch of a road upset loss at Illinois on Feb. 19, they dealt themselves a bad hand looking toward the team that had beaten them handily earlier in the season. 

But Indiana responded, as head coach Teri Moren said the Hoosiers rekindled their stride during practice in preparation for Iowa. 

“You could just see it brewing in the last two days of practice,” Moren said. “You could just tell there was a different feel in terms of their focus.” 

But what did the Hoosiers do to get this win? 

Going into the matchup, it was all about how the Hoosiers weathered the storm of the Hawkeye offense that plagued them in Iowa City — specifically the trio of senior guards Molly Davis, Gabbie Marshall and Kate Martin, who combined for 40 points in the first meeting. 

“We kept Martin, we kept Molly Davis, (Hannah) Stuelke, Marshall, we kept them relatively quiet,” Moren said. “That did not happen when we went to their place.” 

Thursday, Indiana held the three to a combined 25 points, 19 of which came from Martin. The Hoosiers succeeded at the task at hand.  

And with Clark, who entering Thursday’s game needing 98 points to pass Pete Maravich for the all-time NCAA scoring record, was held to a slow night — at least for her standards. She recorded 24 points and 10 rebounds, coming an assist shy of a triple-double with nine. 

But once again, the Hoosiers could afford that with the inefficiency of the rest of the Hawkeye starters.  

As it has been all year, Assembly Hall was kind to Indiana’s offense. The Hoosiers shot 42.9% from beyond the arc, including three makes from fifth-year senior guard Sara Scalia, who failed to nail a triple at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.  

Scalia released what seemed to be built up emotion Thursday — headlined by a 3-pointer celebration that resulted in a technical foul. 

“I am just honestly having fun, that’s really it,” Scalia said. “I love playing with my teammates, I love playing for this coaching staff. We put in the work and nights like tonight really show all the work we put in.” 

The Stillwater, Minnesota, native led the Hoosiers with 25 points.  

“We didn’t have an answer for Sara Scalia, she was really good tonight,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. 

In addition to the heroics from Scalia, graduate student forward Mackenzie Holmes got her fill: 24 points on 11-of-16 from the field. Holmes was recognized pre-game and was presented with a commemorative ball from IU President Pamela Whitten and Athletic Director Scott Dolson after becoming Indiana’s all-time leading scorer. 

Senior guard Sydney Parrish, who missed seven games with a foot injury, finally returned to Branch McCracken Court with two huge 3-pointers that set the crowd on fire in the middle of the third quarter. 

So how does Indiana keep its foot on the gas pedal as the calendar turns to March?  

More of everything from Thursday. Indiana will not have the 17,222 attendees in cream and crimson at the Target Center in Minneapolis for the Big Ten Tournament and maybe not even in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. But for the Hoosiers, it’s more about limiting mistakes and learning from experience.   

Against teams such as Ohio State and Illinois, who they very well might see in the later rounds of the Big Ten Tournament, it’s about limiting turnovers and preventing driving lanes.  

Next up for Indiana is a road trip to Evanston, Illinois, where it will take on Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The matchup is slated for 7 p.m. Feb. 27. 

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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