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Tuesday, May 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

Sara Scalia delivers in the clutch, exemplifies Indiana women’s basketball’s hard-working culture

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On March 31, 2022, Sara Scalia entered the transfer portal. Her priority was finding a new home with a winning culture where their players work hard. Mackenzie Holmes was the main figure in recruiting Scalia to Indiana. 

Nearly two years later, the duo stood at the top of the south bleachers inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall embracing each other. 

They had just completed a fourth-quarter comeback over the No. 5-seeded University of Oklahoma. All Scalia could do was take a moment to reflect.  

“I’m really grateful for Coach Moren — she gave me the opportunity to play at Indiana,” Scalia said postgame. “I’ll never regret that decision; I’ll never look back on it. I’ve had a very great two years here.” 

Monday encapsulated what Scalia looked for in the transfer portal. While the Sooners held her to just 7 points throughout most of the contest, it didn’t matter. 

Scalia stepped to the north charity stripe, leading the Sooners by 4 points. She stepped to the line with the same laser-focused look in her eye that she’s always had and drained both free throws. 

Oklahoma head coach Jennie Baranczyk called a 30-second timeout immediately after. The 12,385 Hoosier faithful in attendance erupted as Scalia made her way toward midcourt. 

“Let’s go, come on,” Scalia screamed as she pointed to the fans in the east lower bowl. 

Scalia went on to drain three more free throws, but her initial two essentially sealed the Hoosiers’ victory to do what they couldn’t do a season ago — advance to the Sweet 16. 

“We all had a chip on our shoulder from the feeling we felt last year,” Scalia said. “We were all coming into this game really motivated that we didn’t want last year to happen again.” 

While Scalia could’ve easily become frustrated with scoring just 7 points through 39 minutes, she remained confident — something she credits Holmes with. 

“She’s kept my confidence up; she’s been a leader,” Scalia said. “I’ve looked up to her the past two years here so I wouldn’t be here without her for sure.” 

With the victory, the Hoosiers will head to Albany, New York, on Friday to take on No. 1 University of South Carolina. Although the Hoosiers redeemed their heartbreaking Round of 32 loss to the University of Miami a season ago to advance, they aren’t satisfied. 

Although numerous Hoosiers explained during the season they put the loss to Miami in the rearview, Scalia explained she’s periodically thought about it throughout the season. But now with avenging the loss, there could be worries about being satisfied with just reaching the Sweet 16. 

That’s not how Parrish and Scalia felt sitting inside the locker room less than half an hour of taking down the Sooners. 

Scalia explained her squad wants the challenge of taking on the 34-0 Gamecocks. She feels they’re ready for it, and they want that big moment. 

Senior guard Sydney Parrish explained advancing to the Sweet 16 with Indiana across her chest is a special feeling.  

However, the Hoosiers seemingly know they are going to be written off. 

“Everyone has them winning,” Scalia said. “It’s definitely going to be a big challenge for us but it’s nothing we are going to shy away from. We are going to continue to play our game, do nothing different as far as that, and just continue to play together and play well.”

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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