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Yarden Garzon highlights Indiana women’s basketball’s season-opening 86-49 win over Vermont

Yarden Garzon, a freshman from Israel, lead the Hoosiers in scoring Tuesday night.

Syndication: The Herald-Times Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

Jeremy Gray, in his second season as the public address announcer for Indiana men’s and women’s basketball, is on his second list of names to call out. From scoring opportunities to assists, each play is met with Gray’s voice booming through Assembly Hall’s sound system.

One name kept coming up during Indiana women’s basketball’s 86-49 season-opening victory over Vermont.

Indiana head coach Teri Moren saw Gray and said hello as she walked into Assembly Hall’s media room and grabbed a stat sheet for her postgame press conference. Then she asked a quick follow-up question.

“Ya like Yarden?”

Indiana’s coaching staff has known about Yarden Garzon for a while. Long before she was draining threes and facilitating scoring for Indiana in her first game as a Hoosier.

They were tipped off by an AAU coach in the Fort Wayne area who saw potential in a younger Garzon years ago during a workout and told Indiana’s coaches that they’d need to keep an eye on her.

Associate head coach Glenn Box was the first to open up the line of communication, then fellow associate head coach Rhet Wierzba jumped in. Soon enough, the trio of Moren, Box and Wierzba were all-in on Garzon’s recruitment.

“All hands on deck once we started watching her on film and feeling like this is a kid that has an opportunity to be special,” Moren said.

Garzon, who is from Ra’anana, Israel, always had a goal of coming over to play in the United States, Moren said. Garzon’s family already has experience with the United States thanks to Yarden’s sister, Lior Garzon, who plays basketball at Oklahoma State. Indiana got to know Garzon and her parents through multiple Zoom calls.

With experience on Israel’s national team and Maccabi Ironi Ramat Gan, Garzon was no typical recruit.

“We felt like she was somebody that could come over here and help us immediately,” Moren said. “She’s a really hard worker, she’s a crazy competitor and she’s just going to keep getting better.”

It took just one game, a 19-point outing against Vermont, for Garzon to lead the Hoosiers in scoring. Her statline features a 5-8 clip from the perimeter, four rebounds and four assists. Standing at 6 feet, 3 inches, Yarden has a unique combination of size and athleticism that allows her to score in the paint and from the arc.

She leveraged her shooting to hit Mackenzie Holmes down low and her size, equal to that of Holmes, to find Sara Scalia open on the perimeter. If Garzon wasn’t making the shot, she was busy finding someone else who would.

When Moren spoke on Indiana’s offense in her postgame opening statement, Garzon’s name was the first she mentioned.

“We get to see this everyday in practice,” Moren said. “I think you got a glimpse of that she can do.”

Moren wasn’t the first to say as much. Grace Berger, Indiana’s leader on and off the court, said she knew what kind of player Garzon was early on, praising her performance as a passer and shooting from the perimeter.

“The first day she stepped foot on campus in August, we kind of really quickly realized how good she was,” Berger said. “She’s not a typical freshman, she plays like a pro out there.”