Indiana women’s basketball walked away with an 86-49 victory over the Vermont Catamounts in their season opener last night, and CQ was in the building to see it all! Here’s three things:
The most glaring difference between this year’s team and last year’s (after one game) comes off the glass, especially in the offensive zone. Against Vermont, Indiana recorded 14 offensive rebounds, a total they met or beat only three times a year ago. The significance of that statistic is as follows:
Objectively, it’s important simply because it means that the Hoosiers are getting multiple opportunities to score on each possession— something they struggled to do in 2021-22. Last season, every shot Indiana took had a little extra weight to it because they rarely got second chances. They had to play more patiently, and really only shoot on grade-A looks because they couldn’t afford to miss.
With more confidence in their rebounding abilities now, however, Indiana’s shooters can be a little more aggressive because the consequences of a miss are less severe. Check out this clip for example, Sara Scalia shoots this ball confidently because she knows that Sydney Parrish will grab the rebound if it doesn’t go in:
Burden-free basketball! Another layer of versatility added to the Hoosier offense.
IU had a great rebounding night on the defensive end too. Overall, the Hoosiers outrebounded the Catamounts 39-30 and outscored Vermont 36-16 in the paint. Indiana’s top rebounders were Grace Berger with eight, Mackenzie Holmes with five, and then Yarden Garzon, Alyssa Geary, Sydney Parrish, and Lilly Meister all with four. Seeing immediate production from the latter five of those names is fantastic, this large class of newcomers is contributing already.
Three point shooting
Indiana shot 48% from three, making 12 of their 25 attempts.
Good evening, Indiana women's basketball has attempted 24 threes and made half of them.— L.C. Norton (@ByLCNorton) November 9, 2022
That's more than in any game last season. They are playing their first game of the year. #iuwbb
Last season, Indiana attempted 485 three pointers, good for 12th best in the Big Ten. They made only four threes in their B1G Championship loss to Iowa, and connected from deep just three times in their Sweet Sixteen loss to UConn. The roster was in desperate need of perimeter shooting, so head coach Teri Moren went to the transfer portal and landed the league’s best available sniper in former Minnesota Golden Gopher Sara Scalia. Scalia was 3-6 from deep last night, and Israeli freshman Yarden Garzon also shot well, going 5-8 on three point attempts (more on her in a minute).
Consistent three point shooting is important to Indiana not just for efficiency reasons, but because of the way it opens up the floor. Last year’s offense was predicated on Grace Berger midrange takes and feeding Mackenzie Holmes in the paint, meaning that defenses could give IU trouble by packing it in. With threats on the perimeter now, however, the middle opens up:
Look at how freaking spread out the Vermont defenders are. Parrish’s defender’s eyes dart to CMM as the defense collapses, allowing her to slip into the paint for an easy layup. Postgame, Coach Moren mentioned the emphasis they’ve been putting on extra/ “one more” passes in practice this season, and it’s showing already. The second the defense rotates towards a shooter, Indiana wins.
Yeah. . . she’s Her! Can’t say we didn’t see this coming, but I don’t think any of us expected Indiana’s overseas freshman to have such an impact so quickly.
Garzon was awesome last night. She had a game-high 19 points off 7-12 shooting and was 5-8 (!!!) from deep. She also had 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal.
What makes Garzon so special is her ability to do it all. She’s got the size of a forward with the athleticism and ball handling of a guard. Garzon is one of a handful of players across the country that could arguably play all five positions, and play them well. She’s an X-factor for sure.
L.C. covered Garzon’s performance and overall story in-depth in his gamer, so go check that out here. There’s nothing I can add that L.C. didn’t cover quite well in his piece.
Up next for Indiana is a second opponent from the America East Conference. They’ll host UMass-Lowell on Friday night in Assembly Hall. Tip time between the Hoosiers and River Hawks has been set for 7pm.