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The Indiana Daily Student

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COLUMN: Indiana women’s basketball narrowly escapes Oklahoma despite noticeable errors


As the buzzer sounded on the night of March 20, 2023, hearts shattered inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. No. 1 seeded Indiana women’s basketball fell to the University of Miami 70-68. A Big Ten Championship season, cut short by a No. 8 seed on the Hoosiers' home court. 

371 days later, now No. 4 seeded Indiana had a chance to conquer the demons, write the wrongs and get back to the Sweet 16. On Monday, it was the No. 5 seeded University of Oklahoma Sooners waiting for the Hoosiers on their home floor.  

After a chaotic and emotional 40 minutes, the Hoosiers punched their ticket to Albany with a 75-68 victory. 

“I didn’t want to end this game with a loss,” graduate student forward Mackenzie Holmes said postgame. “We all know how it felt last year and I was going to do everything in my power to not let that happen again.” 

While the Hoosiers are moving on, the win did not happen the way they wanted. Inefficiencies plagued Indiana all night on ends that are typically their forte.  

On offense, Indiana shoots 51% from the field and has one of the highest-scoring and efficient offenses in the country. Monday, Indiana went 38.5% from the floor, missing 40 of their 65 attempts.  

A surprisingly large sum of those field goals were layups. Whether it was second chances, runners, or simple drives to the cup, the Hoosiers struggled to convert. 

From the 3-point range, Indiana was at just 18% — a shocking 3-of-16. Within the dependable shooters: fifth-year senior guard Sara Scalia was just 1-of-5, senior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil was 0-of-4 and sophomore guard Yarden Garzon was 0-of-2.  

“We are going to have off-shooting nights,” Scalia said. “I think the biggest thing is we got to continue to stay connected, together, continue to give our effort, give 100 percent have no regrets and leave it all out there.” 

On the glass, Indiana averages 35 rebounds a game. While the Hoosiers exceeded their average, on Monday, the Hoosiers were outrebounded 48-39, allowing 17 offensive rebounds. The Hoosiers also had 14 second-chance points and 38 paint points. 

And from the charity stripe, Indiana missed seven free throws. It didn’t hurt them on the result, but the margin for error in Albany, and Cleveland for that matter, is as small as a grain of rice.  

How does Indiana correct these errors with the No. 1 overall seed on their doorstep? 

Rebounding must be the focal point of this quick week of practice for Indiana. The Gamecocks average 46 rebounds a game and feature a massive size advantage on the glass in the form of 6-foot-7 senior forward Kamila Cardoso and 6-foot-3 sophomore forward Ashlyn Watkins.  

“They are just amazing from top to bottom, their roster,” Scalia said of the Gamecocks. “We would want to play South Carolina, we want that challenge, we are all ready for it, we want that big moment.”  

Shooting on the other hand, just was not the Hoosiers' night. Moren alluded that the previously mentioned players who struggled Monday, simply need to just keep shooting.  

After all of that, there is still another chapter to be written in the book of the 2023-2024 Indiana women’s basketball team. This team is going to the Sweet 16, something not many teams do. 

The Hoosiers are still dancing and have a matchup with arguably the best team in the country. The Sweet 16 matchup in Albany, New York, will tip off at 5 p.m., Friday, inside the MVP Arena.

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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