Yarden Garzon was one of the best freshmen in the Big Ten last season, hitting 45.5% of her attempts from deep to set Indiana’s freshman record.
It made sense. She played with and against American college graduates among other professionals in Israel, running the point as a teenager. She was going to have an impact one way or another.
But she’s still hungry.
The Hoosiers have the ever reliable Mackenzie Holmes when it comes to scoring in the paint, but lost some post scoring from the backcourt without Grace Berger. The staff looked to Garzon, a 6’3” guard, to fill that gap.
She has a workout with assistant coach and former Indiana great Ali Patberg every day, but that wasn’t enough. On top of that, she added a workout with Holmes to her routine to work on scoring down low.
“She knew that we needed her to become more aggressive,” head coach Teri Moren said in a postgame press conference on Monday. “She’s always looking for ways that she can improve and get better and I think that’s what makes her so special. She’s not content, she’s not satisfied.”
Something on the stat sheet caught Moren’s eye as she was walking off the floor following her team’s 109-56 win against Evansville: Garzon had put up 30 points, a career high. It was her second of the season after scoring 23 against Tennessee.
Even more impressive, only four of the Hoosiers’ 34 free throw attempts belonged to Garzon, of which she made three. The 30 was a result of hitting 12 of her 14 attempts from the field.
“She doesn’t get sped up, she really plays at her own pace,” Moren said. “She’s uber talented, she can post up, she’s obviously really good from beyond the arc, she’s a fantastic passer and she continues to want to still be pushed and challenged.”
There’s a lot of different ways Garzon can hurt a defense. With her back to the basket she has the size and footwork to get a layup or turn for a fadeaway. She can fire from deep off the catch or the bounce.
The court vision and passing ability are both there if she doesn’t have the best look. She’s capable of running the offense herself in transition or the half-court.
“I don’t think this comes as a surprise for any of us,” Holmes said postgame. “Yarden is extremely talented, we know this. We know a game like this for her is bound to happen.”
As for Garzon, she too had no idea she’d scored 30 until the final buzzer. When asked about it, she immediately deferred to the coaching staff and her teammates for putting her in a position to succeed.
She even highlighted Indiana’s defense.
“I’m trying to get better every day and we’re trying to be better as a team every day,” Garzon said. “We’re trying to focus on the defensive side of the ball and I think we have to get better. Whatever works.”