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Sunday, April 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

Sara Scalia’s performance leads No. 14 Indiana women’s basketball over Clark, No. 4 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 2:09 left, fifth-year senior guard Sara Scalia received a pass from senior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil at the top of the key. She put her head down, getting around graduate student guard Kate Martin on the right wing before firing the ball to sophomore guard Yarden Garzon in the northwest corner. 

Garzon fired it right back at Scalia — who already racked up 20 points. Scalia seized the opportunity, draining the 3-pointer to take a 13-point lead and effectively sealed No. 14 Indiana women’s basketball’s 86-69 victory over No. 4 Iowa. 

“I was like ‘That’s the dagger right there,’” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said postgame. 

The Stillwater, Minnesota, native finished the contest with 25 points on 7-of-14 from the field alongside four rebounds and four assists. She scored just 6 points against the Hawkeyes in Iowa City on Jan. 13, but she was different Thursday. 

“We didn’t have an answer for Sara Scalia,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said postgame. “She was really good tonight. Give her credit, she played really well today.” 

Scalia began the matchup with a pair of free-throws before hitting her maiden 3-pointer to give Indiana an early 5-2 advantage. She later drained another 3-ball later in the opening quarter, starting the game 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. 

After her 8-point performance in the first 10 minutes, Scalia went 3-of-3 from the charity stripe while also hitting a pair of mid-range jumpers in the second quarter. With her 15-point first half performance, the Hoosiers found themselves with a 44-33 lead at the break. 

Although Iowa senior guard Caitlin Clark dropped 20 points in the first half, sophomore guard Lexus Bargesser stole the ball from Clark on an inbound with 05.6 seconds left in the second quarter. The steal not only prevented Iowa from cutting its 11-point deficit, but it gave the Hoosiers the momentum as they went into the locker room. 

How were the Hoosiers up by double digits at halftime over a team they lost to by 27 points just over a month ago? 

“I think maybe the most important thing we felt like we did at halftime was we kept [Kate] Martin, we kept Molly Davis, [Hannah] Stuelke, [Gabbie] Marshall, we kept them relatively quiet,” Moren said. “That was the key. At halftime we were pleased with the way we guarded those other pieces that they have on the floor.” 

Coming out halftime, a third quarter meltdown from Indiana could’ve been expected — it's been dominated in a middle quarter in each of its losses. 

But not Thursday. 

Although Scalia began the second half with a layup and a free-throw to complete a 3-point play, Iowa went on a 6-0 run to close the gap to 11 points. 

And then senior guard Sydney Parrish arrived. 

She missed seven games with a foot injury, returning Monday against Illinois. But she played just six minutes and failed to score against the Fighting Illini — but not against Iowa. She drained a 3-pointer from the right wing with 4:46 left in the third quarter, following it up with another in the exact same spot just 19 seconds later. She halted the Hawkeyes’ run momentarily until they went on a 12-3 run to finish the quarter. 

Iowa used its third quarter momentum to pull within 9 points, but Scalia finished the game off with a pair of free throws before drilling the dagger 3-pointer. 

Scalia added a layup in the waning moments, receiving a technical foul for her excessive celebration. She’s typically an even-keeled, stone-cold assassin, but she displayed a different swagger against the Hawkeyes. 

“I just am honestly having fun,” Scalia said postgame. “That’s really it. I love playing with my teammates, I love playing under this coaching staff. It’s a lot of hard work that pays off and it’s fun when that shows.” 

Not only did Scalia leave her mark in the scoring column, but Bluder explained that she hurt the Hawkeyes in more ways than one. 

“She really did a great job running off screens, getting her feet set,” Bluder said. “She set her screens up really well. And then when we closed out hard, she beat us off the bounce. She really, really played well.” 

Scalia’s performance guided the Hoosiers to a crucial victory — one that could propel them into hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament if they handle business to end the regular season. 

For now, Scalia provided the Hoosier faithful with a performance to remember against a team with arguably the greatest women’s college basketball player in Clark after she dominated the Hoosiers earlier this season. 

“I felt like the work we put in the past few days prepping for Iowa showed tonight,” Scalia said. “I was really proud of my team.”

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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