Indiana women’s basketball has another nonconference schedule full of big names and accomplished programs.
The Hoosiers will start their regular season when Eastern Illinois visits Bloomington on Nov. 9. They’ll close out the noncon schedule with Bowling Green on Dec. 22.
There’s a mix of mid-major buy games and some intriguing road trips in there. Let’s get into it.
Low to Mid-Major programs
Indiana hosts most of these opponents at Assembly Hall in Bloomington with one exception: a neutral site date with Maine in Portland.
These opponents are not to be taken lightly. Mid-majors upset teams before March on a regular basis, get caught sleeping and you’ll have a rather unfortunate home loss weighing you down like an anchor come March.
That being said, here are Indiana’s potential mudhooks:
- Last year’s record: 21-8
- Last year’s finish: OVC Tournament, loss in first round
Eastern Illinois is no slouch, finishing second overall in the Ohio Valley Conference standings last season before bowing out to eventual conference tournament champion (and, funny enough, Indiana’s first round opponent last year) Tennessee Tech.
The Panthers opened their season this week with a loss to IUPUI.
- Last year’s record: 15-16
- Last year’s finish: MVC Tournament, loss in second round
Indiana has not faced Murray State since 1992, but that doesn’t mean the current roster has no experience against the Racers.
Sophomore forward Sharnecce Currie-Jelks, who won the OVC Freshman of the Year award before transferring to Indiana this past offseason, played against Murray State with UT Martin just last year. She dropped 13, 9, and 4 in that outing, a 71-52 UT Martin loss.
- Last year’s record: 20-12
- Last year’s finish: ASUN Tournament, loss in semifinal
Lipscomb had an interesting season in which it took a power six opponent, Vanderbilt, to overtime in a loss... and got absolutely obliterated by Florida Gulf Coast, a fringe top-25 team, by a score of 101-59 to end the year.
- Last year’s record: 16-14
- Last year’s finish: America East Tournament, loss in semifinal
This game is less about the opponent and more about the location.
Teri Moren and Co. promise recruits that they’ll work to schedule nonconference games close to home so their family and friends can seem them play for Indiana. For a program legend like Mackenzie Holmes, that’s even more important.
Holmes is from Maine, which has a nationally underrated basketball presence. She’s proud to be from the Pine Tree State and returns home for basketball clinics when available to do so.
This noncon matchup is set to be played at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, a stadium in which Holmes won a state championship with Gorham in 2016.
- Last year’s record: 13-20
- Last year’s finish: ASUN Tournament, loss in second round
Stetson was obliterated by every power six opponent it faced last season and is the second opponent on Indiana’s nonconference schedule to have allowed at least 100 points to FGCU.
- Last year’s record: 11-19
- Last year’s finish: MVC Tournament, loss in first round
Well, Evansville is an in-state opponent. Indiana has scheduled others like IUPUI and Butler in recent years with the latter program potentially being on the rise.
The Purple Aces faced Big Ten sides Illinois and Iowa last year and were brushed aside by both.
- Last year’s record: 31-7
- Last year’s finish: MAC Tournament championship loss, WNIT Fab 4 loss
Indiana welcomes the Falcons for a second straight year, having defeated them 96-61 at Assembly Hall last season.
This matchup, like the one in Maine, is also interesting. Bowling Green is the alma mater of Indiana’s Director of Basketball Operations, Liz Honegger. She’s one of the best players in the program’s history, and we wrote about her last year.
In case you didn’t catch our full 2023-24 schedule superlatives piece, this is our “sneaky good noncon game” pick. The Falcons’ offense was top-25 in scoring last year... it could get interesting.
The Maine game will be awesome for obvious reasons, but other than that this grouping isn’t much to write home about. As long as Indiana plays to its potential, they shouldn’t have any trouble with these matchups.
Fort Myers Tip-Off
In-season events have become a staple for Indiana during the Teri Moren era, and this year’s will take place in Fort Myers over Thanksgiving. The Hoosiers are set to play Tennessee and Princeton while in Florida, a pair of orange-adorned teams they’ve faced in the last two years.
Indiana soundly handed the Vols a loss on their home court in Knoxville last year and played a tight second round matchup with the Tigers during the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
- Last year’s record: 25-12
- Last year’s finish: Loss in NCAA Tournament, Sweet Sixteen
To Tennessee’s credit, this blog and its associates thought it was a better team than its record showed throughout last year. Games slipped away but if you watched them the proof of concept was there.
They knocked off eventual national champion LSU in the SEC tournament and played well enough to get to the Sweet Sixteen where they fell to eventual Final Four team Virginia Tech.
The Vols will always be very impressive as a unit talent-wise with the rich basketball tradition in Knoxville brought forth by Pat Summitt, an idol of Indiana head coach Teri Moren.
All-SEC forward Rickea Jackson is back for a fifth year and headlines an experienced roster that returns nine players (but also contains zero freshmen). Jackson led the Vols in scoring against Indiana with 17 points last year, and will be flanked by guards Jasmine Powell and Tess Darby in the starting lineup for a second straight year.
- Last year’s record: 24-6
- Last year’s finish: NCAA Tournament, loss in second round
Princeton has been a high quality women’s basketball program for a while now that’s been underseeded in recent tournament play. Just look at how thoroughly it handled Kentucky and battled Indiana back in 2022.
The four-time defending Ancient Eight champions are unanimously the pick of the litter in the Ivy this year. They return a core of 2023 major conference award winners Kaitlyn Chen (Player of the Year), Ellie Mitchell (Co-Defensive Player of the Year), and Madison St. Rose (Rookie of the Year) and have won 86.2% of their games under fifth-year head coach Carla Berube.
The Tigers can and will sneak up on you, take them seriously or you’ll find yourself trailing. There will be no Grace Berger late-game heroics to bail Indiana out this time around.
The Big Dog
The crown jewel of Indiana’s noncon slate comes this weekend, as the Hoosiers head west to take on Stanford.
- Last year’s record: 29-6
- Last year’s finish: NCAA Tournament, loss in second round
This is the toughest matchup on Indiana’s nonconference schedule.
The Hoosiers are heading to Palo Alto for a date with the veritable blue blood Cardinal coached by the legendary Tara Vanderveer, an Indiana alum. It took an upset to knock them out of the tournament last year and they were an overtime away from handing South Carolina a loss in the noncon last year.
Senior forward Cameron Brink is one of the best players in the country out of Beaverton, Oregon. She was a key contributor on Stanford’s 2021 title team and has been named an All-American and finalist for national Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Her matchup with Mackenzie Holmes will be one of the most intriguing to watch in all of basketball this season.