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Indiana 112, Murray State 79: Three things we learned

A weird one!

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

Indiana women’s basketball played an... interesting game on Friday night against Murray State.

The Hoosiers broke 100 points on the scoreboard with a few minutes to go because they had to. The Racers managed to put 79 up there when all was said and done, a defensive performance Moren wasn’t thrilled about in the postgame press conference.

She praised the Murray State defense as well. Alongside a full-game full-court press, the Racers threw a few different things at the Hoosiers they just hadn’t seen before. Sometimes Mackenzie Holmes was doubled. Others she wasn’t.

Sometimes they were playing in-your-face physical defense. Other times they weren’t. It was a weird one.

Here’s three things:

The Press Break

Murray State rolled out a full-court press pretty early in the game which, uh, sure. Issue being that it probably accounted for just about one turnover in the first half. Even that one is iffy as it came off a pass that just sailed over someone’s head.

Indiana found a few different ways to break it, usually with a few creative formations to get the ball past halfcourt. They knew it was coming of course, Murray State ran it against Arkansas and came within three points of the Razorbacks when all was said and done.

You’d think this would call for an adjustment but you would be wrong. There the Racers were, pressing away in the second half. There were points when Indiana ran the same action, a pass out of the corner, like three times in a row to break it.

Counted about one time in the second half that a bad pass actually got intercepted.

If you’re Indiana, you’ll take full-court press experience against an obviously inferior team any day of the week. You may, might, remember that gave them problems against Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament.

We’re going to go more into detail on this in another piece but Murray State’s whole gameplan was weird.

Ball Movement

Indiana has been good at keeping the ball moving around the court for the entirety of Teri Moren’s tenure in Bloomington. With a physical defense like Murray State closing in on the ball, it was going to result in an open look or lane somewhere eventually.

There aren’t too many bad shots in Indiana’s system. Players pass out of it just about every time and look both for the ball and any open space.

In the second half, Holmes found a cutting Sydney Parrish in the lane for a look that ultimately didn’t go down. Indiana got a few open looks from deep, connecting on seven of its 19 attempts on the game.

Nobody definitively led Indiana in assists Friday. Chloe Moore-McNeil and Yarden Garzon finished tied with five apiece. Lexus Bargesser had four. Sara Scalia and Holmes had three.

About 24 team assists to eight turnovers. And those eight turnovers came against a defense that spent literally the entire night pressing. All in all a good performance on the offensive end of the ball.

It was, uh, close?

I mean if you can call a game with a x-point margin of victory close. You’d expect Indiana to beat these teams pretty soundly but Murray State found a way.

It was a defensive issue. Indiana typically has a goal of limiting opponents to a certain number of points. Moren said tonight’s goal was 60. Murray State scored the same 79 points it did against Arkansas. Difference being Indiana has a lot of ways to beat a team offensively.

Moren wasn’t happy with that end of the court, giving the defense a solid “C” on the night. Moore-McNeil hasn’t been happy with the defense so far either, Moren said. The former called Indiana “soft” defensively earlier this week.

Indiana lacks a level of toughness, Moren said. A “smash-mouth” attitude. The kind that Grace Berger had every year she played in Bloomington.

“I have the utmost confidence that this group is smart enough to figure it out,” Moren said. “We’re gonna keep talking about it.”