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Saturday, March 2
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

No. 10 Indiana women’s basketball set for top-10 showdown Sunday with No. 8 Ohio State

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No. 10 Indiana women’s basketball sits at 0-2 in its two road contests against ranked opponents so far this season. Sunday, however, the Hoosiers have an opportunity to change the narrative. 

Indiana (18-2, 9-1 Big Ten) is set to face off against No. 8 Ohio State (18-3, 9-1 Big Ten) at 12 p.m. Sunday inside the Value City Arena in Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio. 

The Hoosiers have been dominated by an average of 29.5 points against then-No. 15 Stanford University and No. 3 Iowa — the only two road games they’ve played against ranked opponents. 

Despite handling the Buckeyes in each of the two regular season meetings last season, Indiana fell 79-75 to Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament on March 4, 2023. The Hoosiers collapsed in the second half after leading by as many as 24 points while Ohio State had five scorers in double figures. 

But in the matchups with Stanford and Iowa this season, the Hoosiers led for just 44 seconds. 

In those two contests combined, the Hoosiers committed 30 turnovers. 

“Against a good team like Iowa, you can’t afford a lot of turnovers,” senior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil said Jan. 13 after falling to Iowa. “Any team that’s good is going to make you pay for a lot of turnovers.” 

That’s just what the Cardinal and the Hawkeyes did: make the Hoosiers pay. 

Alongside Indiana’s carelessness with the basketball in road Top-25 matchups, it's uncharacteristic shooting woes and lack of rebounds have contributed to the blowouts. The Hoosiers were outrebounded 87-55 alongside shooting 38.5% from the field and 19.2% from beyond the arc in the losses. 

After the “unacceptable” loss to Iowa, graduate student forward Mackenzie Holmes said, she knew that the loss couldn’t negatively affect her team in the future. She explained that there would be tough conversations with a lot to learn from to prevent the Hoosiers from snowballing. 

Those conversations seem to be working. 

In Indiana’s four games since, it is 4-0 overall — 2-0 inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall and 2-0 on the road against Purdue and Northwestern. 

While the winning results have been there, the Hoosiers continue to struggle limiting turnovers, averaging 12.75 per game in the four-game stretch. 

The cream and crimson have been without a starter for three of those contests, though. Senior guard Sydney Parrish injured her foot in practice Jan. 19, causing her to miss the Hoosiers’ game against Purdue two days later.

Sophomore guard Lexus Bargesser has started in Parrish’s place in each of the three matchups that she’s been sidelined. Although her scoring production has been nearly nonexistent — scoring just 3 points per game in the three games — she’s done exactly what the Hoosiers have needed from her. 

“I thought Lexi did a great job tonight,” Holmes said Jan. 31 after defeating Maryland. “She was aggressive. We needed her to be aggressive, drive and make plays, and I think she did a really good job of that.” 

While Bargesser and Moore-McNeil have been the primary facilitators, combining for 23 total assists over the three games, freshman guards Lenée Beaumont and Julianna LaMendola have seen increased minutes. 

“Having them gain confidence is going to be huge for us,” Holmes explained. “But not only that, but experience. That can only come game by game, and I think they’re progressing really well.” 

However, Sunday is different. 

It’s not a game against a team that is near the bottom of the Big Ten standings — like Purdue, Northwestern and Maryland — it’s against the No. 8 team in the country. 

The Buckeyes have fallen just once inside Value City Arena this season — a 77-71 loss to then No. 2 University of California, Los Angeles, on Dec. 18. Since then, the scarlett and gray are 5-0 at home, headlined with a victory over then-No 2 Iowa. 

Parrish’s status for Sunday is still unknown, but if the Hoosiers are to come out of Columbus with a victory Sunday, they’ll need to contain Ohio State graduate student guard Jacy Sheldon and sophomore forward Cotie McMahon. The duo averages 17.5 and 13.9 points per game, respectively, while the former is tied for the Big Ten lead in steals with 2.2 per contest. 

Not only does the matchup hold implications for Indiana’s ability to compete with highly ranked teams on the road, but it also impacts the Big Ten regular season title race. Indiana, Iowa and Ohio State are all atop the Big Ten ahead of this weekend’s action — all at 9-1. The winner will likely control their own destiny while the loser will need other conference squads to handle their Big Ten opponents 

The lone regular season matchup between Indiana and Ohio State is set to tipoff at 12 p.m. Sunday inside the Value City Arena with the game being televised on FS1. 

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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