Lilly Meister spent her freshman year in an enviable spot, backing up and learning from the best post player in the country: First Team All-American forward Mackenzie Holmes.
Holmes’s domination made minutes hard to come by for Meister at times, but she rose to the occasion when needed. After Holmes suffered a minor injury in the Big Ten tournament, Meister stepped up and started Indiana’s NCAA tournament first round game, scoring seven points with four rebounds and a career-high three blocks in the win against Tennessee Tech.
The admirable understudy finished the year with appearances in 31 of 32 contests, averaging 6.5 minutes and 2.4 points per game.
On the court
Meister only played more than ten minutes in five of Indiana’s games last season, and we rarely saw her on the floor for more than a couple possessions at a time. Given the sporadic nature of her playing time it’s hard to write a detailing scouting report.
What we did see, however, bodes well for the sophomore. She absolutely, unequivocally, has the talent and work ethic needed to succeed in the Big Ten.
Meister’s production and usage will increase this season, as evidenced by her strong eleven point (5-7 FG), eleven rebound performance against Greek All Stars in August. She got the start at the five in both of the team’s summertime exhibitions in Greece.
Meister’s offensive game is fairly similar to that of Holmes: set up on the block and go to work. Given the playmakers she was surrounded when on the floor, Meister wasn’t relied upon to be a primary scorer but usually converted when fed down low, connecting on 63% of her field goal attempts in 2022-23. Her boxing out and screen game both improved as the season went on.
The defensive end is really where Meister got challenged a season ago. She’d spend a good chunk of time on the bench before subbing in to spar with great post players like Iowa’s Monika Czinano or Miami’s Lola Pendande on key in-bounds play. An incredibly tough task for anyone, let alone a freshman, became a nightly occurrence.
To Meister’s credit, she rarely got burned, ultimately proving to be an asset off the glass as the year progressed, grabbing 66 boards. She also recorded eleven blocks last season, none cooler than this one:
Expect a lot more of that this season.
Four months ago, projecting Meister’s 2023-24 role was easy. It was going to be “play all non-Holmes post minutes,” but then Indiana head coach Teri Moren brought in former UT-Martin forward Sharnecce Currie-Jelks via the transfer portal. The Hoosiers’ frontcourt rotation question is suddenly one of the more interesting ones heading into the season.
We could bicker back and forth about which forward should relieve Mackenzie Holmes first but the bottom line is this: Indiana will be able to rotate three capable post players this season, where depth was an issue last year.
Holmes and Meister are an above average frontcourt duo, but the season is simply too long and for them to go through it alone.
SCJ’s addition may mean fewer Meister minutes than anticipated earlier this summer, but a three forward rotation will lighten everyone’s load, leading to better play all around.
If Meister and Currie-Jelks can get real time without a significant dropoff in production (hint: they certainly can!), the Hoosiers could go as far as Cleveland.