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Indiana’s freshmen, sophomores get valuable minutes in win over Eastern Illinois

The Hoosiers’ bench showed some promise in the season opener.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 09 Women’s - Eastern Illinois at Indiana Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With Indiana up by a great many points in the second half, head coach Teri Moren sent a lineup of entirely freshmen and sophomores onto the floor.

Bargesser shined brightest out of the group, finishing the night with 15 points shooting 100% from the field with two rebounds, three assists and just a single turnover. Those points included a single made 3-pointer, a few pullup midrange jumpers and two buzzer beaters.

“Being able to come out the first game and do that gave me a ton of confidence, but also helps out I’m so confident in my teammates too,” Bargesser said postgame. “Even if I miss, I know we’re gonna get a putback.”

Sans knee brace, she was able to push the ball down the floor with her speed and work from there, finding open shooters, anyone in the post or attacking the rim herself.

But she wasn’t the only bright spot. Sandvik, a sophomore like Bargesser, dished out four assists and played sound defense throughout the night. Head coach Teri Moren brought up her contributions unprompted in the postgame press conference.

“What she gives us is a sturdy defender,” Moren said. “She’s strong, she understands angles, she understands our strategy, what we’re trying to do and take away when we’re game planning and prepping. She’s smart. That’s what you want.”

Indiana rotated a few forwards and centers into the game with this group. One of Meister, Sharnecce Currie-Jelks or Arielle Wisne was in the game as an option down low on both ends of the court.

The night wasn’t without its miscues, with an errant pass from LaMendola sailing into Indiana’s bench, but every mistake was met with a good play. LaMendola herself took a charge and came back up yelling “let’s go!” to teammates.

Moren and the staff assign defensive goals to the team by quarter, and Indiana came one late bucket shy of hitting the benchmark of limiting Eastern Illinois to just 42 points. Though, worth noting, Moren said the overall goal heading into the game was limiting it to 60.

Indiana’s going to need more from its bench this year and will look to get early minutes for this grouping, especially freshmen LaMendola and Lenee Beaumont (who finished with 9 points and two assists, by the way).