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Sunday, April 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

No. 14 Indiana women’s basketball to host Caitlin Clark, No. 4 Iowa

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Indiana graduate student forward Mackenzie Holmes trudged into the media room inside the State Farm Center after falling to Illinois by 20 points. Head coach Teri Moren followed Holmes. 

Moren explained how her team was “bullied all afternoon” and failed to respond after Illinois “punched them in the mouth.” 

While Moren aired her frustrations, Holmes intently assessed the box score on a sheet of paper. The loss marked Indiana’s third defeat by 20 or more points this season — just a season removed from losing four games by a total of 12 points. 

After focusing on the piece of paper for over two minutes while Moren expressed her frustrations with her squad’s performance, it was Holmes’ turn to speak. 

“I don’t take losing very well,” a teary-eyed Holmes said. “Only have a few games left in the regular season, so we got to figure it out. That’s all there is to it.” 

Losing isn’t something Holmes and the Hoosiers have done much of since she arrived in Bloomington in 2019. Throughout her five seasons in the cream and crimson, Indiana has a winning percentage of 79.9%. 

But the 140 games that Holmes has played in during her Indiana career is behind her now. It’s what lies ahead. Three more regular-season games and the Big Ten Tournament are on the horizon, before it becomes win-or-go-home in the NCAA Tournament. 

So, how does Indiana recover from a blowout loss to a Fighting Illini team that is 44th in the NET? Flush it, according to Moren. 

The present is all that can be controlled — a matchup with Caitlin Clark and No. 4 Iowa on Thursday. 

Just like the Hoosiers are coming off a 20-point loss to the Fighting Illini, they were routed by the Hawkeyes in the squads first meeting of the season Jan. 13 by 27 points. 

How, though, can Indiana compete with Iowa — a team that dismantled them already? 

To win, they must contain Clark’s supporting cast. While it’s much easier said than done, the Hoosiers must hold Molly Davis, Gabbie Marshall and Kate Martin in check, unlike they did in Iowa City when they allowed the trio to combine for 40 points. 

Limiting turnovers and outrebounding Iowa is another priority — two things Indiana failed to do just over a month ago. The Hoosiers committed 15 turnovers in that Jan. 13 matchup and were outrebounded by nine. But most of all, they must avoid the dreaded middle quarter collapse. 

The Hoosiers have been obliterated in either the second or third quarter in each of their four losses this season. Although they almost mounted a comeback against Ohio State on Feb. 4 and pulled within 9 points late in the fourth quarter against Illinois before losing, they deteriorated in the latter stages against Stanford University on Nov. 12 and Iowa. 

Why? 

“I don’t know why our second quarter, sometimes we come out and we’re flat,” Moren said. “I have no idea.” 

With the NCAA women’s college basketball all-time scoring leader in Caitlin Clark on the opposing side Thursday, Indiana cannot afford another middle quarter rut. 

When Clark and Iowa begin to fire on all cylinders, its nearly impossible to contain. Clark averages 32.8 points per game, now chasing the NCAA college basketball all-time leading scorer Pete Maravich’s record of 3,667 points. 

Senior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil will likely once again face the challenge of guarding Clark as she typically guards the opposing team’s best perimeter player. 

In the two squad's matchup in January, Clark nailed six 3-pointers on her way to scoring 30 points. With the West Des Moines, Iowa, native draining shots from around the perimeter, one could assume it would be tough on the psyche of whoever is guarding her. 

However, Moore-McNeil simply said “No sir” when prompted with the question inside the Carver-Hawkeye Arena press room Jan. 13 

For the Hoosiers to pick up what would be their most impressive victory of the season, they’ll have to remain resilient defensively, even if Clark hits shots left and right. 

With a victory, Indiana would likely vault back into the conversation to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. But with a loss, slim hopes of winning the Big Ten title would vanish and hosting the Big Dance are likely gone. 

The matchup is set to tipoff at 8 p.m. inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall with the game streaming on Peacock. 

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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